Kent State – Kentucky 21-inning Game Notebook

June 2, 2012
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Kentucky's Mike Williams (seated center) and head coach Gary Henderson (right) before the 21-inning game.

Friday’s Kentucky-Kent State 21-inning game at the Gary Regional marked the first extra inning game of this year’s NCAA Tournament, but the fact that it was the first extra inning game didn’t even begin  to scratch the surface of its significance.

The game, won 7-6 by the No. 3 seed Kent State, is the second longest in NCAA Tournament history. The only game to go longer was the 2009 25-inning game at the Austin Regional that saw Texas defeat Boston College 3-2. Texas would go on to a national runner-up finish at that year’s College World Series.

The game began at 3:01 pm Central Time and ended at 9:38 pm for a total time of six hours and 37 minutes.

An NCAA official said afterward that about 12 dozen baseballs were used during the game. He said the NCAA only shipped 30 dozen balls to use for the entire weekend.

Each team sent five pitchers to the mound in Friday’s game. Kentucky’s A.J. Reed, a freshman from Terre Haute, Ind making his return to his home state, had the longest outing of any of the 10 hurlers with his team’s last 9.0 innings on the mound. Kent State starter David Starn had his team’s longest stint on the mound with 6.0 IP.

A total of 678 pitches were thrown in the game. Reed and Starn led the way with 108 pitches each.

The two teams combined to strikeout 47 times. The Golden Flashes fanned 26 times but still won the game. Fittingly, the game ended when Thomas McCarthy struckout while trying to check his swing.

Six different pitchers, Starn and KSU teammate Brian Clark, and Reed, Taylor Rogers, Alex Phillips, and Trevor Gott for Kentucky, fanned at least six batters in their time on the hill. Reed had a game-high eight Ks.

Three different batters finished with “Golden Sombreros” – with 4 Ks each. They were DH Nick Hamilton and 2B Derek Toadvine for Kent State and Reed for Kentucky. That gives Reed the distinction of having the game-high with eight strikeouts as a pitcher and tying for the game-high with four Ks at the plate.

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The Road To Omaha leads to TD Ameritrade Park and The Dugout – located right across the street from TDA’s home plate entrance. The Dugout has a ton of authentic college baseball caps – just like the ones the players wear on the field.

If you’re going to Omaha for the College World Series make sure to make your first stop The Dugout for all officially licensed CWS apparel. If you can’t make it to Omaha just follow our red links to The Dugout!

Kent State starters George Roberts and Toadvine each had 10 at-bats in the game. Roberts started the game by going 5-for-5 in the first nine innings, but was 0-for-5 the rest of the way. Toadvine was 2-for-10.

Kentucky catcher Mike Williams had 28 put outs. Kent State first baseman Roberts had 23.

The Wildcats are now 1-17 this season when trailing after the eighth inning.

Kentucky’s Steven Hoagland entered the game 1-for-3 at the plate for the season. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter and went 0-for-5.

Wildcat closer Trevor Gott pitched a season-high 4.0 innings. His previous long was a 2 1/3 inning stretch against Indiana on May 8. Gott was also 0-for-1 at the plate. He hit in Luke Maile’s spot in the order when the slugger was lifted for a pinch runner in the 9th inning after injuring his leg.

Kent State brought centerfielder Evan Campbell in as a fifth infielder when Kentucky had the winning run at 3rd base and one out in the bottom of the 10th. Hoagland dropped down a squeeze bunt when he pinch-hit for Matt Reida and the runner at third was out when the bunt went right back to the mound.

Purdue and Valparaiso fans, who had packed the stadium waiting for the second game of the night, booed loudly at the end of the 19th inning after Kentucky squandered a scoring opportunity.

The initial announced attendance for the game was less than 800, but it ended-up being 5,016 with those extra northwestern Indiana fans in attendance while the game continued into the night.

There were plenty of squandered scoring opportunities for both teams. Kent State left 20 runners on base, while Kentucky stranded 23.

Williams nearly ended the game, but instead only tied it, with an RBI double in the 18th inning. Williams crushed a ball that would have been out of most parks in the country to plate one run, but Reed, who was on at first base and does not run well, was thrown out at the plate on a 9-6-2 relay. Kent State had scored a run in the top of the inning, so the game continued tied 6-6. The last run to score prior to that was by Kentucky in the bottom of the 9th to send the game to extra frames.

The Kent State victory extends the nation’s longest D1 winning streak to 18 games. The Golden Flashes haven’t lost since April 25 at Penn State.

It was a very well played game with just two errors, one for each team, all night.

“It’s been a weird game.” – Kentucky radio PBP man Neil Price. He said it on the air in the top of the 13th. The longest game of the year for Kentucky.

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