Louisville clinched its third trip to the College World Series with a 7-4 win over Kennesaw State in front of a school-record 6,007 fans in Jim Patterson Stadium Saturday.
Kennesaw State hit the scoreboard first, plating a run in the bottom of the first as Simmons led off the game with a double to left center. A sacrifice bunt pushed him to third and a RBI single to left field by Max Pentecost scored Simmons from third.
Louisville took the lead with a pair of runs in the third. After Zach Lucas led off the inning with a single to left field, Kyle Gibson bunted for a single. A sacrifice bunt by Cole Sturgeon advanced the runners, and a pop-fly by Nick Solak, the hero of Louisville's Game 1 win over Kennesaw State, scored Lucas from third on the tag. A RBI single to right field by Gardner scored Gibson from second to give Louisville a 2-1 lead.
Kennesaw State struck back immediately. After Nixon reached on a five-pitch walk, Simmons singled to right field. A bunt single by Bruce loaded the bases for Kennesaw's first round Major League Baseball Draft pick Max Pentecost. The Toronto Blue Jays' top pick didn't disappoint, smacking a double to left-center to score Nixon and Simmons and give Kennesaw State a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Neither team scored in the fourth inning, but Louisville regained the lead with three runs in the fifth. Lucas doubled to left center to start the inning and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gibson. A single by Sturgeon scored Lucas from third. Solak popped a two-run home run to left field to push Louisville back into the lead 5-4.
After allowing four runs in the first three innings, Louisville starter Anthony Kidston settled in and held Kennesaw State off the scoreboard in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Kennesaw State stranded two runners in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Louisville added a pair of runs in the sixth inning as Corey Ray singled to shortstop and Sutton Whiting singled to left field. With the bases loaded and two outs, Sturgeon slapped a base hit into right field to score Corey Ray from third and Sutton Whiting from second.
Bergen was chased after 79 pitches. The Owls' ace, he pitched twice in the Regional, throwing for a total of 180 pitches. He gave up 11 hits and seven runs in 6.2 innings.
Kidston exited the game in the seventh after allowing four runs on nine hits with seven strikeouts. He gave way to freshman Zack Burdi who, while throwing 97 miles per hour, got Pentecost to pop up to right field. Burdi handed the ball off to freshman Drew Harrington who got the second out of the inning and gave up a hit. Cole Sturgeon closed out the seventh and eighth innings for Louisville before Louisville handed the ball to closer Nick Burdi who closed out the game effectively.