May 31, 2009 (3:15 a.m.)

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Texas Tops BC in Record 25 Innings Staff Reports

Travis Tucker hit a two-strike RBI single through a drawn-in infield with one out in the top of the 25th inning as Texas edged Boston College 3-2 Saturday night in the longest game in NCAA baseball history. The game, which last seven hours and three minutes, eclipsed the 23-inning game played by Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State in 1971.


It also featured one of the greatest pitching performances in NCAA history.


Longhorns lefty Austin Wood pitched 12.1 relief innings of no-hit ball and finished with 13 innings, two hits, 14 strikeouts and 169 pitches (120 for strikes).


“Ecstatic,” was Wood’s reply in an on-field interview when asked by Longhorns radio broadcaster Keith Moreland how he felt. “This is exactly where we wanted to be. It took a little longer than we wanted.”


Wood went on to tell Moreland: “I didn’t need to worry about how hard I was throwing. I just had to hit spots and get outs…They were debating over there [whether to take me out]…I told them I’m not coming out of the game.”


Texas coach Augie Garrido said in the postgame news conference: “I’ve seen some great pitching performances…But none any more courageous or better than the one Austin Wood put together tonight.”


He said that he and assistant Skip Johnson were discussing whether to take Wood out when the lanky lefty walked by.


“He walked by both of us and said, ‘I’m not coming out of this game,’” Garrido said.


Tucker was 1 for 11 before his game-winner, which came after a walk, sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch off freshman Mike Dennhardt. He slipped a ground ball past a diving Anthony Melchionda at second for the Longhorns’ first run in 23 innings.


“We knew that if we got one on the board that our pitching staff was going to close it down,” Tucker said. “Every inning, we felt like we had a chance to win it.”


Added Wood: “Every inning, we believed in ourselves and never doubted that we’d win that game.”


Freshman Austin Dicharry, the third Longhorns pitcher, picked up the win in relief of Wood. The right-hander allowed one hit in 5.2 innings as the pair of Austins allowed only one hit to the Eagles (34-25) over the final 18.2 innings.


Texas, the visiting team playing on its home field, finished with 20 hits, while BC had eight.

Both teams had opportunities to win it, especially after they had played the equivalent of two games. In the 20th inning, Melchionda hit a shot to center with runners on that was caught on the warning track. In the 22nd, Texas’ Preston Clark (who had three doubles), ripped a ball just foul that would have easily cleared the fence. Later in the at-bat with a man on second, Clark’s hard grounder was speared by diving BC third baseman Mickey Wiswall, who fired in time to first.


“I’m not really sure where to start. It was just an unbelievable ball game,” Eagles coach Mik Aoki said. “Twenty-five innings, I mean, what time is it?”


Texas (43-13-1) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Kevin Keyes’ two-run homer. Boston College used single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to tie it – catcher Tony Sanchez and Mike Belfiore contributed RBI.


Belfiore matched Wood’s brilliance, tossing 9.2 scoreless innings with three hits and 11 strikeouts.


“Michael matched him almost pitch for pitch,” Aoki said. “At some point, you have to tip your cap to Texas and wish them well.”


Boston College next faces Army at 12 p.m. local time for the right to play Texas again Sunday night.


Garrido had simple advice for the Eagles.


“Go to bed,” he deadpanned.