A day after two MLB games went at least 18 innings, N.C. State and Rice got into the fun themselves with a 17-inning thriller. Meanwhile, Oregon State bounced back against K-State to keep its Omaha dreams alive.
N.C. State 5, Rice 4 (17 innings)
It took 17 innings, but N.C. State finally punched its ticket to Omaha late Sunday night with a 5-4 win over Rice. Senior Brett Williams came up with a clutch double and Tarran Senay scored after Rice's right fielder had difficulty fielding the ball, completing the comeback they started in the ninth inning.
Rice threatened to stretch the game even farther in the bottom of the 17th, as they moved the tying run to third with two outs. N.C. State had no intention of dragging their fate out any longer, however, and they finally brought the marathon affair to a close with a fly out to left field.
With Rice winning 4-1 in the ninth, it was looking as though a deciding Game 3 would be required, but the Wolfpack mounted a rally in the top of the frame. After a hit-by-pitch and a single put men on first and second, consecutive doubles from Jake Fincher and Senay plated runs to tie the game.
Despite being the game being played in Raleigh, Rice was designated as the home team, and had a golden opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the ninth. The Owls loaded the bases with two outs, but N.C. State's Ryan Wilkins forced a harmless pop-up to escape the jam.
The game moved quickly from there, as the two pitching staffs combined to face just three over the minimum in the first seven extra innings, thanks to a trio of inning-ending double plays and spectacular relief work from both bullpens. N.C. State seniors Chris Overman and Ethan Ogburn (W) combined for three hits and no runs over the game's last eight innings. Rice's John Simms gave up only three hits and struck out eight over the final 7⅔, but did allow the winning run in the 17th, earning the loss.
Oregon State 12, Kansas State 4
On the verge of elimination after losing Game 1, Oregon State came up with an offensive explosion late Monday night (or early Tuesday morning if you weren't on the West Coast) to force Game 3.
After scoring only two runs in their first game, the Beavers errupted for 21 hits in Game 2. They kicked the slugfest off in the top of the first as Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis went yard on consecutive at-bats, part of a five-run inning. All but one of the team's starters had multiple hits, and infielders Tyler Smith and Kavin Keyes each had four. The score very well could have been even uglier, as Oregon State stranded ten baserunners in the contest.
Not to be overlooked in the one-sided affair is the pitching advantage Oregon State now holds in the third game. Kansas State was forced to burn through six pitchers on Monday (though none worked more than 2⅔ innings), while Andrew Moore gave the Beavers eight innings (6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) and allowed them to rest their pen, picking up his 14th win in the process.