While you were sleeping, Texas Christian University and Sam Houston State were locked in an epic struggle in the winners' bracket at the NCAA's Fort Worth regional. When the infield dirt finally settled — and believe us, there was plenty of dirt flying — TCU emerged victorious 3-2 in 22 innings.
The game is officially the second-longest in NCAA Division I championship baseball history, which essentially means the postseason. The Texas Longhorns defeated the Boston College Eagles 3-2 in 25 innings back on May 30, 2009 in the longest Division I college game played in the regular season or postseason.
As we said, there was plenty of dirt flying in the game. There was also plenty of controversy. In the bottom of the 21st inning, Sam Houston State had runners at the corners with one out when Travis Lee hit a slow chopper to shortstop. TCU literally had no chance to get the runner at home or turn a double play, but they played it out anyway and ended up benefiting on an interference call.
It was actually the second time interference was called against Sam Houston State during the game. According to coach David Pierce, both times it was ruled his runner slid away from the base, which would definitely constitute interference. However, the second time it appeared runner Luke Plucheck slid very late, which is dangerous, but right to the base.
In other words, not interference.
It's a play you hate to see decide such an important game, especially one that lasted 6 hours and 54 minutes and featured 594 pitches. And especially when it was unneccessary to even be that aggressive. The winning run could have jogged home backwards. Yet, despite the fact his slide had little influence on the outcome, he was ruled out and also ejected for throwing his helmet.
By the same token, TCU deserves some credit for going through with the play despite it looking hopeless, but you still can't help but feel bad for Sam Houston State.
Those are the breaks sometimes, and the breaks get even tougher on Sunday. With the loss, Sam Houston State has to turn right around and play an elimination game against Siena at 3:30 p.m. ET, just a little more than 13 hours after this game ended. Sam Houston State's reward if it wins that game? Another game against TCU on Sunday night — with their season on the line.
Sam Houston State went six pitchers deep on Saturday in a losing effort. It will be forced to dig deep on Sunday just to survive one game. TCU used seven pitchers in the win and sits in a fairly good position, but the real winners could be Siena if it is able to take care of business in the afternoon.
It certainly adds more intrigue to an already wild postseason. The top two national seeds — Florida State and Florida — were both eliminated from the competition on Saturday. It's a wide open field now.
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