Helms had driven in only three runs all season. But with the bases loaded in the seventh, the senior stepped in and hit a 1-2 pitch from Vanderbilt closer Brian Miller down the third-base line.
The Cardinals (50-12) tied the game just three batters earlier. Zak Wasserman drove in his second run of the game with a two-out single. Louisville strung together three two-out hits and tagged Vanderbilt starter Kevin Ziomek (11-3) for three runs in the inning.
Xavier Turner had two hits and scored two runs for the Commodores (54-11). Six of Vanderbilt’s seven hits came in the opening three innings.
Louisville, playing in its first super regional since 2009, tied a program-record for regular-season wins.
The Cardinals are one win away from reaching their second College World Series and first since 2007.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 4, RICE 3
In Raleigh, N.C., Jake Fincher’s two-out single in the bottom of the ninth capped a rally and lifted North Carolina State to a victory over Rice in Game 1 of the Raleigh Super Regional.
Rice (44-19) had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth, but N.C. State (48-14) tied it when Brett Williams slid under a tag after a bunt by Logan Ratledge. Williams singled to start the inning, stole second, and went to third on an error by pitcher Zech Lemond.
Two batters later, Fincher’s single scored Jake Armstrong with the winning run.
INDIANA 10, FLORIDA STATE 9
In Tallahassee, Fla., Kyle Schwarber had a go-ahead two-run single in a four-run seventh inning and Indiana went on to beat Florida State in the first game of the Tallahassee Super Regional.
Indiana, playing in the Super Regionals for the first time, can advance to its first College World Series with a win today.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 11, VIRGINIA 6
In Charlottesville, Va., Adam Frazier went 6 for 6, Hunter Renfroe was 4 for 5 and they each drove in three runs to help Mississippi State beat Virginia in the first game of the Charlottesville Super Regional.
The Bulldogs (47-18) pounded Virginia pitching for 20 hits and benefited from uncharachteristic sloppiness by the Cavaliers, who made four errors that led to six unearned runs.