LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The clock struck midnight on Kennesaw State on Saturday night.
Kennesaw State lost to Louisville in Game 2 of the Louisville Super Regional to end its Cinderella season.
Louisville was able to take the game 7-4 behind strong hitting and a consistent bull pen.
“I know up until that last inning, we believed we could still get to Omaha.” Kennesaw State’s Kal Simmons said. “Something about our team - the determination, and the drive to win and come back. I've enjoyed every second of it.”Kennesaw State was able to get on the board first in the bottom of the first with an RBI from Max Pentecost.
However, it seemed the magic ran out for the Owls in the sixth inning when Louisville was able to make the score 7-4 with a Cole Sturgeon single which knocked in two hits.
“Kennesaw is a tough team,” Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell said. “This weekend we witnesses why they came out of the Florida State Regional.”
“Louisville showed tremendous pitching,” Kennesaw State head coach Mike Sansing said. “Offensively, they came at us all night. We battled, but we were not able to push a few across late.”
Despite losing at the Super Regional, Kennesaw State was able to put together one of the most impressive seasons in the program’s history.
This impressive run includes the program’s sixth 30-win season, the nation’s longest win streak of the season at 16 games, the school’s first Atlantic Sun tournament and its first NCAA Regional Championship.
“[This season] put us on the map,” Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost said. “We've had some good years in the past, but this year really exceeded all of that. We are up here with the top 16 teams in the nation, playing on TV. People from our school were supporting us. I think it's going to kick start our program.”
Unfortunately for the Owls, No. 1 seed Louisville ended their season on Saturday night.
“It is always tough to lose this close to Omaha,” Coach McDonnell said. “I feel for them, I really do.”
Kennesaw State was able to add to its record-breaking season during the loss.
KSU's Pentecost broke the Atlantic Sun’s record for hits in a season during the fifth inning. Pentecost was able to hit a double to left center for his 113th hit of the season.
Pentecost earned three hits during the game, and concluded his collegiate career with a .422 batting average. On Thursday, Pentecost was drafted by the Blue Jays as the 11th overall pick, Kennesaw State’s highest pick in school history.
The Owls' success inspired their fan base and had a lot of fans present despite the six hour drive from Kennesaw, Georgia.
Cindy Gillam and Charlotte Doolin, both Kennesaw State employees, made the drive to Louisville on Saturday morning to catch the 7 p.m. game.
“We are so excited,” Gillam said. “We just had to get up here.”
“This is just a great group of kids, it’s fun to watch these good young men play baseball,” Gillam continued.
The Owls had their work cut out for them, the Cardinals are no strangers to the NCAA post season.
After clinching its second consecutive Super Regional, Louisville heads to program’s third College World Series.