Monday, June 1, 2009
Austin, Texas Inning after inning, Austin Wood kept heading back out to the mound.
First called on in the seventh in a 2-2 tie against Boston College, the senior left-hander expected to work a few batters, maybe an inning — or two — to help the top-seeded Longhorns on their way in the NCAA Tournament Austin regional.
But one batter led to another, one inning rolled into another, and Wood stayed on the mound, mowing down batters while working a masterpiece.
In the longest game in NCAA history, Wood pitched 13 innings, including 121⁄3 no-hit innings, before the Longhorns pulled out a 3-2 victory in a 25-inning epic.
Wood threw 169 pitches, struck out 14 and gave up two hits. All of that came after pitching two innings in a 3-1 victory over Army the night before to earn his 15th save of the season.
“I was tired, but I put in the work, put in the dues, and it showed tonight,” Wood said. “We never doubted that we weren’t going to win that game.”
The late-night loss forced the Eagles into a quick turnaround to play Army in an elimination game, which B.C. lost, 4-3. In the championship, UT beat Army, 14-10.
“I’ve never been a part of anything like that,” B.C. coach Mik Aoki said. “I guess no one has, right?”
Texas coach Augie Garrido, the Div. I leader in career victories, called it “the best pitching performance I have ever seen ... unbelievable.”
As unhittable as Wood was, Boston College’s Mike Belfiore matched him pitch for pitch. He tossed 92⁄3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out 11 before leaving in the 19th.
The game began at 6:02 p.m. CDT Saturday and concluded 7 hours, 3 minutes later at 1:05 a.m. Sunday. There were three “seventh-inning stretches,” and the teams played nearly the equivalent of three full ballgames.