Usually, going 2-for-12 would represent a lousy series for a baseball player, not a rough night. But that was what Travis Tucker of Texas did in the Longhorns’ NCAA regional game against Boston College on Friday night. And Saturday morning. But while Tucker may have had a rough night, he at least came through when it counted - in the 25th inning - as his single gave Texas a 3-2 victory over Boston College in the longest game in NCAA baseball history.
And with the win, Texas earned the right to rest until tonight, where they get the winner of this afternoon’s elimination game between Army and Boston College - which started about nine hours after last night’s game ended. I’m sure that the Eagles are full of energy to take on the Cadets, as much as the Longhorns are not looking forward to another night game against Boston College.
The hero of the game for Texas was reliever Austin Wood who, if he wasn’t related to rubberarmed former MLB pitcher Wilbur Wood, might as well be. In what has to be one of the greatest pitching performances at any level ever, Wood came on in relief in the seventh inning, and then proceeded to throw 13 innings of shutout baseball, including 12-1/3 perfect innings, before exiting in the 20th inning after throwing 169 pitches. Talk about a tough way to pick up a no-decision.
Even Texas coach Augie Garrido, who has seen pretty much everything, was impressed in the post-game press conference:
“That is the best pitching performance by an individual pitcher in the 41 years that I’ve coached. Austin Wood did unbelievable. That is what needed to be done.”
You really owe it to yourself to read the box score, because what the hell, when is the next time you’ll get to read another one like it. Among some of the highlights were:
- Boston College managing eight hits for the entirity of the 25-inning game.
- Texas Longhorns 3B Michael Torres, who may have had the worst night in baseball history. He went 1-for-12, including stranding 10 runners on base.
- Of course, that kind of reflects how the entire Longhorns team did, as they managed to leave 24 runners on base during the game.
- Before the game-winning run, the last run had been scored in the sixth inning, meaning that the fans got to see 19 innings of scoreless baseball.
Look: I respect a pitchers duel as much as anybody, but 19 scoreless innings? And this is college baseball, where the “ping” of the aluminum bats usually means tons of scoring. Can you imagine if they were using wood bats? They might still be playing.