OMAHA, NE (WAVE) - Out of clear blue skies and sunshine, a storm rolled into Omaha Friday night with straight-line winds, hard rain and the ability to tear apart sound, powerful structures.
Just as College World Series attendees enjoyed the beautiful Friday weather before the storm rolled in, so too did the Cardinal baseball team enjoy its day of celebration before the true test that lies just ahead.
The Cards had a Friday full of autograph sessions, team pictures and celebrations; those celebrations took their important place as the calm before the storm that will be a tough test against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Louisville's history in the College World Series is well-documented, the Cards are just 1-6 in their trips to Omaha.
"By no means, I haven't figured it out because we haven't played particularly great here," head coach Dan McDonnell said. "But I'm just going to be who I am, learn from the few years that we've been here before and just try to help our kids stay relaxed."
It would seem if the trend of early CWS exits was going to be bucked, this would be the Louisville team to do it. Just ask A&M's coach Rob Childress, who spoke on Friday about facing this Louisville team.
"They can beat you a lot of ways," Childress said. "If you give them free base runners, they're going to eat you alive. They can run. They can hit out of the yard. They're very, very good with two strikes. Very well coached, very well prepared. There's not a hole in Louisville's offense or in their team."
The Cards' Brendan McKay can't seem to go a day of late without winning a prestigious award for his incredible athleticism and Major aptitude at multiple positions. McKay will get the start on the mound against the Aggies on Sunday, and look to bring the thunder which won him all of those awards.
The celebrations and fanfare associated with this day are good, and well deserved. Signing autographs for kids at TD Ameritrade Park, taking a team picture in front of the Road to Omaha Statue, these are moments of joy these players will remember for rest of their lives.They are the fruits of a hard-fought season which saw the Cards win 52 games, including sweeping in-state rival Kentucky in the Super Regional.
But the time for celebration and ceremony has gone just as quickly as it came. It's now time for Louisville to brace for what's coming and emerge on the other side stronger and triumphant.
The Cardinals will have to weather the storm of competition at its highest level if they want to get the win on Sunday.