Two Citadel Hall of Famers clashed Thursday night on college baseball's biggest stage at the College World Series.
But only one former Bulldog great could advance.
Louisville and coach Dan McDonnell survived with a 4-3 victory, eliminating coach Chris Lemonis and Mississippi State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Cardinals scored two runs in the ninth to rally for the victory. An errant pick-off throw and a Danny Oriente single brought in Jake Snider to tie the score at 3-3. Drew Campbell knocked home the winning run, setting off a wild celebration by the Cardinals, who face Vanderbilt on Friday.
Mississippi State took a 2-0 lead in the fourth on a RBI double from Rowdey Jordan and a run-scoring single from Gunner Halter. Tanner Allen's single scored Jake Mangum for a 3-0 lead in the seventh.c
Louisville cut the margin to 3-2 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Campbell drove in one run with a bases-loaded single, and Justin Lavey plated another with a fielder's choice grounder.
McDonnell and Lemonis were teammates on The Citadel's 1990 College World Series team, and the pair worked together as assistants under Bulldogs legend Fred Jordan.
They helped The Citadel to five Southern Conference tournament titles and four regular-season championships, with five appearances in the NCAA tournament, from 1993-2006.
McDonnell has Louisville (51-17) in the CWS for the fifth time in 13 seasons. Lemonis, in his first season at Mississippi State (52-15), guided his team to a second straight College World Series appearance and is the winningest first-year coach in SEC history.
It was a bittersweet moment for the two friends, knowing that one would have his team eliminated from the CWS.
"We always say if we're going to play each other — we're not scheduling each other, I can tell you that — we'd want it to be in Omaha," Lemonis said before the game. "We were just hoping we were in different brackets and in the last games. Obviously, one of us will go home and one of us will get to keep playing.
"But the reality is, it's Mississippi State against Louisville. Dan nor I get to swing a bat, or hopefully him not steal a base or anything like that. It'll come down to the kids."
Citadel baseball coach Tony Skole, also a member of that 1990 College World Series team, has been in Omaha to support both his friends.
This is going to be a great one tonight. @LouisvilleBSB vs @HailStateBB w/two of our own from @Citadel1842 squaring off. What are the odds 2 coaches who were teammates in college having the opportunity to coach against each other in #Omaha at the @NCAACWS? Good luck Mac and Lem! pic.twitter.com/gnSV1P711G— Tony Skole (@TSkole7) June 20, 2019