In one of the longest, most exciting college baseball games in recent memory, the Kent State Golden Flashes pulled off the upset and outlasted the Kentucky Wildcats in 21 innings by a 7-6 score in Friday's Regional opener.
Officially the second longest baseball game in NCAA tourney history, the two teams battled it out on the field for nearly seven hours. In addition to tallying 38 hits from the plate and 47 strikeouts from the mound, the Wildcats and Flashes each gave fans a series of nail-biting scenarios throughout extra innings where runs seemed to be an absolute certainty. And yet even when it looked like the game would end, an improbable set of circumstances would arise and ensure that another inning would somehow be in the cards.
Offensively, George Roberts and Jimmy Rider each led the way for Kent State from the dish. Roberts finished 5-for-10 with a pair of RBI, while Rider ended the night 4-for-10 from the plate. Aside from an 0-for-6 night from catcher Danny Lyon, the Flashes had no trouble making solid contact with the ball throughout. In the end, though, it was pitcher Michael Clark who picked up the win for the Flashes after pitching 3.2 innings of scoreless ball.
After playing the equivalent of more than two baseball games, it will be interesting to see how fatigue impacts these two clubs going forward in the tournament. The Golden Flashes will move on to play the winner of Purdue vs. Valaparaiso (which was delayed due to the length of this game) in Saturday's winner's game, while Kentucky will face the loser in a must-win situation earlier in the day.
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