LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Better late than never, isn't that what people say?
Louisville took advantage of the saying and the home-crowd advantage Friday night in the bottom of the eighth.
After an electric inning in front of a record-setting crowd, the Cardinals defeated Kennesaw State 5-3 in Game 1 of the Super Regional."It was a fun game to be a part of," Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. "And it was kind of what we expected -- two teams that played really hard, they have a lot of belief in themselves, and fortunately we were able to get a rally late. Fortunately we were bale to put something together and come out with a 'W' in the end."
In the top of the fourth, Louisville trailed for the first time this postseason when Kennesaw State's Jacob Bruce crossed plate, making the score 2-1. And the Cardinals continued to trail for four innings before the eighth-inning rally.
Entering the eighth, Kennesaw State was on top. The Owls were able to hold Louisville to only two runs, despite many base runners.
The energy shifted in the bottom of the frame.
Louisville played with a fire and the fans fanned the flame.
Kyle Gibson stepped up to the plate with two runners on base. McDonnell made the call, and Gibson laid down a squeeze bunt and Lucas Kay was able to score.
Jim Patterson Stadium lit up with excitement. The Cardinals tied the game.
And they were not done yet.
Amidst "G-O-C-A-R-D-S," freshman Nick Solak doubled to right center and teammates Gibson and Zach Lucas scored.
Louisville regained the lead.
"Just trying to have fun out there," Solak said. "Ever since I've gotten here, we watched videos of last year's team dog-piling and winning and going to Omaha. It's just something you lay in bed and dream about."
Junior Nick Burdi, fresh off being selected 46th by the Minnesota Twins in the MLB draft, closed out the game with two strikeouts and a pop out.
"I am excited to be drafted," Burdi said. "But I am more excited to get back to the College World Series."
One win stands between Louisville and Omaha, Nebraska.
The Cardinals were able to pull out Friday night's win, and they will look to do the same thing Saturday night.