Nearly six hours after the first pitch on Sunday, Michael Bishop hit a base hit through the middle out to the outfield that allowed brother Andrew Bishop to score from second for the game-winning run in the bottom of the 17th inning as Jacksonville State topped Kennesaw State 9-8.
Heading into the day, the game was only significant as it would determine the series winner after KSU took game one 10-1 and JSU responded Saturday with a 1-0 win. However, by the time it finally ended, game three of the series had historical significance attached to it.
The Jacksonviile State - Kennesaw State series has almost formed a budding rivalry over the past few years between the two schools separated by just 80 miles.
The Owls have caused JSU troubles recently, winning seven of the last 10 meetings over the past three years, but the last two overall now belong to the Gamecocks. Kennesaw leads the overall series 16-10.
The 17 inning contest was the longest game in both schools’ Division I history of baseball.
These types of events are never predictable, but it would have seemed especially rare for this game to occur after the Gamecocks were out to a 5-0 lead before the first inning could come to a close.
Tony Urban started on the mound for JSU only allowing one run in the second in his five innings of work.
Not knowing what was coming, JSU coach Jim Case used three pitchers for a single out: Bradley Raulston, Graham Officer and Conner Metcalf; and another two, Michael Mason and Ryan Sebra, for two-thirds of an inning. Casey Antley, Taylor Sparks and Travis Stout worked longer periods but couldn’t make it to the end.
Each team scored a run in the sixth, making it 6-2 in favor of JSU.
The Owls rallied with a pair of runs in the seventh and then again in the eighth to tie the game at 6. From there, the two were deadlocked until KSU took its first lead of the game in the top of the 12th with another two runs for an 8-6 lead. However JSU fought back in the bottom half and tied it up on Griff Gordon’s 2-out RBI.
Freshman Michael McCreless came in for the Gamecocks in the 13th and shut the door on Kennesaw State for five scoreless innings, earning his first career win when Bishop ended the contest in the bottom of the 17th.
In the process of playing – and winning – the longest game in Jax State history, the Gamecocks set 10 new school records and game-hero Michael Bishop tied an NCAA record. Bishop’s last at-bat was his tenth of the game, a feat only achieved by six previous NCAA players.
Combined, the two teams threw 591 pitches with 10 different JSU pitchers accounting for 287.
The two play again on April 9 for a single game in Kennesaw.