Bat Cats Suffer Heartbreaking Loss In 21 Inning Tourney Opener
GARY, Indiana -- In the second-longest game in the history of the college baseball postseason, Kent State got an RBI triple in the top of the 21st inning and held on for a 7-6 win over Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Gary Regional, hosted by Purdue on a bitterly cold Friday night at U.S. Steel Yard.
Kentucky (43-17) and Kent State dueled in a marathon of a game that marked the second-longest game in the history of the NCAA Tournament. In the longest game played in Southeastern Conference history, the Wildcats and the Flashes battled through over two complete games in a tilt that saw a total of 38 hits and 43 runners left on base, lasting six hours and 37 minutes. UK used all of its position players on the 27-man roster, with a total of 21 players seeing action in the contest.
After Kentucky rallied with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to even the game at 4-4, Kent State plated a run in the top of the eighth to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning. UK got an RBI single from Luke Maile to score the game-tying run and force the historic extra innings.
The teams then combined to toss shutout innings for the first eight frames in extra innings. Kent State took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 18th inning, before the Wildcats got an RBI double off the cavernous wall in center field to even the game in the bottom of the frame to force more extras.
Kent State won the game in the 21st, as leadoff hitter Evan Campbell pushed a bunt single in between the mound and second base, scoring on an RBI infield single.
The defeat places UK in the Losers Bracket of the Double Elimination tournament. The Bat Cats will return to action in the 4 p.m. game on Saturday night, facing off with the loser of the Purdue vs. Valparaiso game at U.S. Steel Yard.