IU improved to 3-1 on the year against the Cardinals. The Hoosiers had never before won a College World Series game.
"It's a dream come true," DeNato said, "to have the honor to do that tonight and get the win and come out here and play [for] Indiana. I couldn't be happier."
Indiana's vaunted offense was kept relatively quiet, but it wasn't a problem. The Hoosiers, who came in averaging more than nine runs per game in the NCAA tournament, reached starter Chad Green for two runs in two innings but otherwise struggled to find traction. Three UL relievers, headed by lefty Cody Ege, combined for seven shutout innings.
The Cardinals' lineup consistently got DeNato into deep counts, but couldn't convert those long plate appearances into baserunners. They managed four hits and three walks against the junior lefty, who struck out eight. DeNato threw 136 pitches.
"If we would have got some more guys on base, then I felt like we definitely would have knocked him out," said Louisville coach Dan McDonnell. "His pitch count would have been even higher. But we just couldn't get enough guys on base tonight."
Scott Donley's first-inning RBI single proved to be the game-winner. He drove in Kyle Schwarber, who singled and advanced to second when Will Nolden was caught trying to steal third.
Two innings later, Michael Basil singled home Nolden, who had led off the inning with a walk. Nolden reached base four times, with a double and three walks.
Cole Sturgeon singled twice for Louisville, but the rest of the lineup went 2-for-25 against DeNato. Only three Louisville players made it past first base all night.
The closest the Cardinals came to a run was in the third inning. Sutton Whiting drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. But he was thrown out by Nolden when he tried to score from second on Cole Sturgeon's two-out single.
Louisville will face Oregon State in an elimination game on Monday afternoon. Indiana will play Mississippi State on Monday night in a winner's bracket game. The winner of that game will be one victory away from the championship series.
Matthew Leach is a writer for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.