Image credit: Penn slugger Craig Larsen
Dartmouth and Pennsylvania on Saturday played what is sure to be the craziest game of the year in college baseball—or probably at any level—as the Quakers defeated the Big Green, 21-15, in 21 innings.
It was supposed to be the first game of a scheduled doubleheader, but after playing for six hours and 22 minutes, Game 2 was pushed back to Sunday. It was the longest game in Ivy League history and one of 11 games in Division I history to last at least 21 innings. Of those games, it was by far the highest scoring.
The game truly had just about everything. Penn slugger Craig Larsen hit for the cycle. The Big Green (9-15, 3-4 Ivy) twice erased three-run deficits in do-or-die innings. The Quakers (15-8, 4-3 Ivy) finally put the game out of reach with an eight-run 21st inning.
The game got off to a fast start as the two teams both scored five runs in the first three innings. After that, they both settled into the game. Dartmouth pushed a run across in the fifth to take the lead, and Penn put up a five-spot in the eighth to take a 10-6 advantage. The big blow came on a grand slam from Larsen, his third of the season.
The Big Green weren’t going to go quietly, however. They scored once in the eighth and Ben Rice led off the ninth with a home run. Down to their final out, Matt Feinstein delivered a two-run double to tie the game.
And with that rally, the two teams embarked on an extra-innings journey they won’t soon forget.
After three scoreless innings, Penn pushed back in front with a three-run 13th as Josh Hood and Matt O’Neill delivered the two key blows. But, again, Dartmouth kept fighting. The Big Green scored three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning, tying the game on a sacrifice fly.
For the next seven innings, neither team was able to break through. Penn’s Josh Sidney and Dartmouth’s Jonah Jenkins matched zeroes. Sidney threw six scoreless innings, while Jenkins threw five. They were the only two pitchers in the game to not allow a run.
Finally, in the 21st inning, the floodgates opened for Penn. Peter Matt led off the inning with a triple and Sean Phelan drove him in to give the Quakers a lead. They went on to score seven more runs, opening a gap that was too much for the Big Green to overcome. But, again, they didn’t roll over and scored twice in the bottom half of the inning before Joe Miller was able to shut the door for Penn.
The final box score reads like a total for the weekend. Penn pounded out a program-record 30 hits, led by Larsen. The freshman went 5-for-12 with two doubles, a triple and a home run to become the first Quaker to hit for the cycle since 2000. He completed the feat in the 13th inning with a bunt single. Matt, Hood and Tommy Courtney added four hits for Penn. For Dartmouth, Trevor Johnson, Nate Ostmo and Steffan Torgersen all recorded four hits.
In all, the two teams combined for 55 hits, 23 walks, 22 strikeouts and 684 pitches thrown. Both teams had 103 plate appearances and now share the NCAA record. Matt and Larsen now hold the record for most at-bats in a game (12).