The May 30, 2009, matchup between Texas and Boston College has held the title as the longest game in college baseball history for nearly 15 years. That 25-inning marathon took a little over seven hours to complete. Can you imagine the fatigue?
Fresno State and San Diego can. Those two programs met on March 26, 2011, just two years after Texas-Boston College, and played for 7 hours, 12 minutes, making it the longest-timed game in college baseball history. It's one of four games that have gone 22 innings.
Let's take a look at the longest games in college baseball history and hear from the people who witnessed two of them. The table is taken from official NCAA record books.
Note: Four of the top five longest games were a 3-2 decision.
|Innings||Team vs. Opponent (Score)||Time||Date|
|25||Texas (3) vs. Boston College (2)||7 hrs., 3 min.||May 30, 2009|
|23||Col. of Charleston (3) vs. William & Mary (2)||6 hrs., 3 min.||May 16, 2014|
|23||UL Lafayette (6) vs. McNeese St. (5)||undocumented||March 27, 1971|
|22||TCU (3) vs. Sam Houston St. (2)||6 hrs., 54 min.||May 31, 2014|
|22||Fresno St. (3) vs. San Diego (2)||7 hrs., 12 min.||March 26, 2011|
|22||Baylor (8) vs. Houston (2)||6 hrs., 43 min.||Feb. 21, 1999|
|22||Colorado (2) vs. Nebraska (1)||undocumented||April 26, 1974|
|21||Kent St. (7) vs. Kentucky (6)||6 hrs., 37 min.||June 1, 2012|
|21||Evansville (4) vs. Memphis (4)||undocumented||March 7, 1999|
|21||Louisiana Tech (2) vs. Southern Ark. (1)||undocumented||Feb. 16, 1985|
|20||Rice (3) vs. Houston (2)||6 hrs., 2 min.||May 31, 2015|
|20||Western Caro. (10) vs. Elon (7)||undocumented||May 25, 2011|
|20||Florida St. (4) vs. Wake Forest (3)||undocumented||May 6, 2006|
|20||Texas (10) vs. Kansas St. (6)||undocumented||April 9, 2004|
|20||Texas (7) vs. Rice (6)||undocumented||May 15, 1981|
|20||San Jose St. (1) vs. Long Beach St. (1)||undocumented||March 30, 1973|
|20||UConn (9) vs. Massachusetts (3).||undocumented||May 13, 1972|
|20||Washington (2) vs. Oregon St. (1)||undocumented||May 6, 1972|
|20||Auburn (7) vs. Florida (6)||undocumented||April 22, 1972|
25 innings | Texas vs. Boston College | 7 hrs., 3 mins.
There's a lot of phenomenal moments in the longest college baseball game, by innings, in NCAA history: the near-perfect relief performance by Texas' Austin Wood and the resilience of his counterpart in Boston College's Mike Belfiore. Not to mention, this was the second day of the 2009 Texas Regional (May 30, 2009). Let's begin with the 25th inning. How often do you hear that?
"It didn’t feel like 25 innings, honestly, when you’re in the moment and you’re competing," Texas second baseman Travis Tucker told NCAA.com. "It was just another inning at that point, another tied ballgame. Then you look up, and I don’t think we scored in (23) innings."
Yes, BC shut out Texas for 23 innings before Tucker drove in the go-ahead run with one out in the top of the 25th. BC's Belfiore is a major reason why. He started and ended the game at DH but switched to the mound in the ninth inning. 9.2 innings of shutout baseball later, he was relieved in the 19th inning, allowing just three hits, 11 strikeouts and zero walks.
"He was unbelievable, but he was kind of just that guy for us," former BC head coach Mik Aoki told NCAA.com. "When he was on, he was nails to begin with. It was like him and Wood were just going pitch for pitch. It was unbelievable."
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On any other normal game day, nothing could overshadow Belfiore's exceptional performance. But this game was not normal. UT's Austin Wood had the performance of a generation within the game of a lifetime — 12.1 innings of no-hit ball, part of a 169-pitch, 13-inning effort.
On any other normal game day, Wood would've been credited a no-hitter, but his long-relief performance propelled him deeper into college baseball lore, unmatched by the ultimate statistical achievements for a pitcher. He has a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Wood's game-worn hat and Tucker's game-used bat — named El Diablo Rojo, the red devil — reside within the confines of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The entire BC team and staff stepped out of the dugout to give Wood a standing ovation after legendary Texas coach Augie Garrido took the ball from his hands in the 20th inning with men on first and second. The guy on second, Barry Butera, said to Tucker in response: "Wow, thank goodness he's out."
The 2009 season was special for BC. The Eagles had advanced to their first ACC tournament in program history and reached their first NCAA regional since 1967, ending a 42-year drought. In comparison, the Longhorns were attending their 53rd NCAA tournament and hunting their sixth CWS championship.
“I think it’s the epitome of college baseball,” Wood told NCAA.com. "It’s a pretty fair playing ground these days."
BC went into the game thinking it’d be a hostile crowd, but it eventually became a celebration of sportsmanship. As Tucker's hit poked into right field between the shallow infield, the runner at third, Connor Rowe, scored what would ultimately become the deciding run in the top of the 25th inning.
"It was probably one of the weakest hits he’s ever had," Wood said, tongue in cheek.
Tucker gives credit to former MLB and Texas left-handed pitcher Greg Swindell, who was in attendance, for the RBI. While taking practice swings in the on-deck circle, Swindell stretched out his left arm so that Tucker could rub it for good luck.
"I always credit Greg Swindell for giving me the luck to get that ball in the four hole," Tucker said.
Tucker sealed the 3-2 victory by firing the final out to first in the bottom of the 25th.
After Texas outhit BC 20-8 and used three pitchers to BC's seven, the loyal Longhorn crowd remained. Most, if not all, of the 7,104 fans stayed until the last out — 7 hours and 3 minutes after first pitch.
"I played professional baseball after that," Belfiore said before the game's 10th anniversary. "I played in the big leagues. That was probably the most intense crowd I’ve ever played in front of in my life. What it meant: Even a Texas fan is very loyal to their program, but for them to clap after the game for our team and show that respect was one of the coolest moments in my career."
22 innings | Fresno State vs. San Diego | 7 hrs., 12 mins.
As noted above, four of the top five longest games in college baseball history were decided by a 3-2 score, making the performance of pitchers crucial to the length of these games.
Fresno State's battle with San Diego on March 26, 2011, was no different in route to becoming the longest college baseball game, by time, ever documented in college baseball history. Fifty runners were left on base during the game — a DI baseball record at the time — and five Fresno State runners were left on third base between the 9th and 19th inning. There were 39 hits in the game and only 5 runs crossed home plate.
Each team's missed opportunity after missed opportunity changed the perspective of Fresno State's play-by-play announcers that night. Ray O'Canto and Guy Haberman, filling in for Paul Loeffler, didn't want to go home; they wanted to make history.
"Ray was hoping they'd get the record," Haberman told NCAA.com. "We're in this so long let's get the record."
Both teams were pitching out of the stretch pretty regularly, but neither team could break the game open. San Diego was up 2-0 heading into the ninth inning, though Fresno State had runners on base every inning before the ninth.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and runners on second and third, Fresno State's Brennan Gowens doubled to shallow left center to safely send the game into extra innings.
"We thought we were headed home (in the ninth)," Haberman said. "I probably had plans with my girlfriend, now wife, Alyssa and texting her saying, 'I'll be done soon.'"
Haberman remembers believing the 21st inning would be the last, just around the same time the press box's fluorescent light burned out. San Diego loaded the bases with no outs. A gutsy squeeze that turned into a 3-6-3 double play shut the door and became the Toreros' last scoring attempt.
Fresno State's Danny Muno led off the 22nd inning with a single, stole second and scored on Garrett Weber's two-out single to left field to walk it off, 7 hours and 12 minutes after first pitch was thrown.
"I was shocked when they scored the winning run," Haberman said. "I remember it happened really fast."
Looking back at his scorebook for the first time in years (as pictured above), Haberman rekindles the joy it was to call the game alongside O'Canto, a former Fresno State baseball player, especially after his death in 2019 to cancer.
He turns giddy when remembering that San Diego's Kris Bryant and Fresno State's Aaron Judge, current MLB stars, shared the same field that day and neither hit a home run.
Though, he would've appreciated a classic Judge home run to send the Toreros packing.