Henceforth, it shall be known as the Austin (Wood) Regional.
Wood, Texas’ senior lefthander, turned in the greatest performance in a game jam-packed with superlatives, striking out 14 over 13 innings of scoreless relief in Texas’ 3-2 win over Boston College. Maybe it was the best postseason college baseball game ever, maybe it wasn’t—but it was officially the longest game in NCAA history, lasting 25 innings. The game began at 7:02 p.m. EDT Saturday and concluded 7 hours, 3 minutes later at 2:05 a.m. Sunday.
"I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” Boston College coach Mik Aoki said in the post-game news conference afterward. "In fact, nobody in college baseball has been part of anything like this."
Texas got on the board first with two runs in the second inning, and Boston College tied it with single runs in the fourth and sixth. Neither team would score again until the top of the 25th, when Connor Rowe walked to lead off the frame, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Travis Tucker’s RBI single through a drawn-in infield.
Amazingly, Texas used just three pitchers in the game (compared to BC’s eight), as Chance Ruffin started and went 6 1/3, and Austin Dicharry followed Wood with 5 2/3 scoreless innings of work, allowing just one hit. The Longhorns out-hit the Eagles 20-8 but left 24 runners on base, tying an NCAA record. But Wood kept Boston College from generating any offense, holding the Eagles hitless through his first 12 1/3 innings of work before Tony Sanchez singled in the 19th. The sidearming Wood threw 169 pitches, including 120 for strikes.
"That is the best pitching performance by an individual pitcher in the 41 years that I’ve coached,” said Texas coach Augie Garrido.
"In the dugout, (pitching coach) Skip (Johnson) and I were talking about him and whether he should come out or stay in. He walked by both of us and said, ‘I’m not coming out of this game.’ "
Wood’s performance overshadowed a brilliant outing by BC’s own closer, junior lefty Mike Belfiore. The two-way star allowed just three hits while striking out 11 over 9 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving in the 19th.
"This is the most exciting game I have ever played in,” Belfiore said. "And while it was too bad we lost, it was the experience of a lifetime."
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