Trailing for most of the game as they stranded nine runners in the first seven innings, the 5th-ranked Louisville Cardinals broke through with three runs in in bottom of the eighth inning to take a 1-0 series lead in the Super Regional.
"It was an exciting game," Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. "Seeing our fans and all the excitement - it was a fun game to be a part of. These were two teams with a lot of talent who believed in themselves... fortunately we were able to put something together there at the end and get the W."
The Cardinals come-from-behind win was cheered on by a record crowd of 5,351 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.
"I loved it," McDonnell said. "The atmosphere was great, and it is great for our program. ... The little kids running around this stadium today will remember this the rest of their lives."
The Cardinals are one win away back-to-back trips to Omaha and the College World Series.
Louisville's breakthrough inning included a suicide squeeze executed perfectly by Kyle Gibson to score Grant Kay from third. Louisville closed out the eighth inning with a 5-3 lead.
"We knew it was coming, but you cant defend against something like that," Kennesaw coach Mike Sansing said. "We had our third baseman in, but the placement of it was perfect. You put one down in that triangle right there, you can't do a whole lot about it."
The Cardinals brought in triple-digit closer Nick Burdi for the final three outs. Burdi, who was drafted in the second round of the Major League Baseball Draft yesterday by the Minnesota Twins, struck out Brennan Morgan and Alex Liquori, but Colin Bennett singled up the middle. Pinch-hitter Chris Erwin popped up to end the game.
"We don't lose twice," Kennesaw State's Cornell Nixon said. "We'll be back tomorrow, best believe that. We don't lose twice."
After being told of Nixon's quote about being back tomorrow, Gibson didn't take the bait - "We will be back as well," he said with a smile.