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Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game

The Georgia Bulldogs hosted the Clemson Tigers and played a 20-inning marathon game that lasted an astounding 6 hours and 33 minutes. The first pitch was set for 7:02 pm ET. The final play would be at 1:35 am ET on Wednesday morning. It is the longest baseball game in the history of either school. By game’s end, Georgia had a series that would be starting the next day.

The game started with a season-high crowd at Foley Field at 3,419. By the final pitch, perhaps 400 were left. Georgia would eventually finish the game with a walk-off single to win 3-2. Along the way it would see the players deliriously cheering on their team, fans gaining their second wind, pitchers scarcely used put into big-time roles, and more strikeouts than a game can handle.

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game
Tim Elliott is 5-1 with a 1.52 ERA on the season, continuing his consistency in the midweek. (Photo courtesy of redandblack.com)

7:02pm First Pitch: Innings 1-5, 0-0

It was the second game of the season in the Georgia vs Clemson rivalry. Georgia traveled to South Carolina to beat the Tigers 5-3 at the beginning of April. That game lasted just nine innings.

Jacob Hennessy took the mound for Clemson and pitched five quality innings of two-hit baseball. Georgia had a tough time getting anything started against the left-hander as he fanned four.

Tim Elliott for Georgia replicated his adversary, pitching the first five scoreless with seven strikeouts. He would eventually leave the game in the sixth inning due to a sequence of hits from Clemson’s offense.

Scoring Begins: Innings 6-7, 2-2

Clemson would get the scoring started in the top of the sixth. Catcher Kyle Wilkie hit a two-out single to score Sam Hall from second. He would be followed by freshman Bryar Hawkins who delivered a triple to take the lead 2-0. It would be the trio’s only three hits of the game, finishing a combined 3-for-23 for the game with six strikeouts between them.

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game
Cam Shepherd’s eighth double of the season was much needed in the 7th inning. (Photo courtesy of d1baseball.com)

Georgia answered in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an error by Clemson. With one out and pinch-runner Steve Minter on second, Cam Shepherd delivered a screamer down the left field line to score Minter. Thanks to a bobble, Shepherd was able to wheel it around third and score on the error, making it 2-2.

Cam Shepherd’s run would be the last scored until the final play of the game. At 9:03 pm, it would be over four and a half hours before the fans would see another.

Intermission: Innings 8-15, 2-2

The Clemson and Georgia bullpen turned in eight scoreless innings from the 8th to the 15th. Over the period Clemson stranded nine runners while Georgia stranded seven. Georgia would use two-way player Aaron Schunk to come in from third base to pitch a scoreless three innings.

Logan Moody would follow with his first appearance in nearly two weeks to pitch four more scoreless, as well as add eight strikeouts. Moody would also enjoy his first at-bat of the season, a two-out groundout.

For Clemson, it was Carson Spiers and Holt Jones who combined pitched 7.2 scoreless innings with just one hit and 11 strikeouts.

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game
Photo courtesy of SECNetwork

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the 15th, Saturday starter C.J. Smith was forced to pinch hit for Logan Moody due to the lack of players left on the bench. The two-way player had 26 at-bats this season but would strikeout, leaving runners on first and second.

The stadium had been lulled into a somber mood. Some fans were sleeping, most had left the game.

The players, on the other hand, were finding any way to keep themselves energized. Someone on Clemson was wearing a green mask, a Georgia player was wearing a rally shark hat, and Clemson players were doing calisthenics in between innings.

Georgia pitcher Tony Locey had found a ping pong paddle to keep himself entertained in the dugout.

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game
Georgia students pile behind home plate to cheer on the Bulldogs. (Photo courtesy of dawgnation.com)

The End is Near: Innings 16-19, 2-2

Enter Luke Sommerfeld for Clemson and Darryn Pasqua for Georgia. It was just the sixth appearance of the season for both pitchers, and both would pitch nearly lights out.

Pasqua had pitched just 6.1 innings all season and would nearly double that number, closing out the game with five innings of scoreless baseball and seven strikeouts. Both pitchers continuously pitched out of jams to give their teams a chance and keep the game tied.

At this point, MLB games on the West Coast that started around 10 pm ET are wrapping up. The bars in Athens are beginning to close down, which means students are filing into the stadium to give the fans a second wind. The effect on the Clemson pitcher as well as the Georgia offense is evident.

Connor Tate Has His Moment: Inning 20, 3-2

The Dawgs loaded the bases against Sommerfeld in the bottom of the 20th with just one out. Freshman Connor Tate came to the plate for his fourth at-bat of the night. He came into the game in the top of the tenth to play right field and was 0-for-3 on the night.

The .209 hitter left no doubt with a single over the second baseman’s head to win the record-setting game for Georgia.  The crowd erupted in likely the loudest it had been all game. Sommerfeld’s night would end after 4.2 innings and five strikeouts. But it’s the five walks that he would remember.

Aeons in Athens: Georgia Wins Record Long 20-inning Game
Georgia celebrates after the walk-off single. (Photo courtesy of AJC.com)

A Night to Remember

  • 43 players used
  • 14 pitchers
  • 576 pitches
  • 50 strikeouts (1 off tying the record)
  • 19 hits, 21 walks
  • 3-28 with runners in scoring position
  • 6 hours, 33 minutes
  • 2 calendar days

Clemson head coach Monte Lee is now 1-1 in games lasting 20 innings or longer. In 2014 with the College of Charleston, he coached the second longest game in NCAA history in a 3-2 victory over William & Mary.

Georgia coach Scott Stricklin was ecstatic about the win. “It was tough offensively,” Stricklin said. “Coach Daeley, our hitting coach, isn’t thrilled right now, but the bottom line is we found a way to win somehow, someway. That’s a big morale booster.”

Tuesday night’s game set records for Clemson and Georgia in both longest duration of a game as well as most innings in a game. They also would both set records for most strikeouts in a game. Just another day for college baseball.

 

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