The total elapsed time of Game 1 of the NCAA Super Baseball Regionals between Wake Forest and Florida on Saturday was 7 hours and 33 minutes.
A rain delay lasted as long as most college football games – 3 hours and 49 minutes – add extra innings to the mix and being on the losing side of such a lengthy game can be really difficult to swallow.
Florida center fielder Ryan Larson drove in the winning run off Wake Forest reliever Colin Peluse in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Gators took Game 1 of the best-of-three series 2-1.
“We certainly had our chances and just didn’t execute some situations throughout the game,” Wake Forest coach Tom Walter said. “... No one deserved to lose that game.”
For most of the contest, the Deacons’ bats were held in check.
After eight innings, Wake Forest trailed 1-0 thanks in large part to Gators pitchers Alex Faedo and Brian Singer.
The Florida duo, Florida’s top two starters for most of the season, combined for 15 strikeouts. It was the most combined strikeouts Wake Forest hitters have had in one game all season.
Singer, who usually started on Saturdays during the regular season after Faedo pitched Friday nights, came in to relieve the junior right-hander after the 3-hour, 49-minute rain delay.
“It was a really well-pitched game on both sides,” Walter said.
Wake Forest starting pitcher Parker Dunshee was effective through the first four innings, surrendering a single run on a fielder’s choice RBI by Florida shortstop Dalton Guthrie.
When the rains came in the middle of the fourth, the Gators let Wake Forest use their training room, and Dunshee took full advantage. The Deacons senior utilized an exercise bike and heating pad to keep loose, allowing him to return to the mound after the lengthy delay.
“There was not consideration (to take him out) as long as Parker felt fine,” Walter said.
Dunshee was even more effective after the delay, ultimately leaving the game after allowing just one run on three hits in eight innings of work. He also struck out eight Florida hitters, while walking only three.
“I felt good,” Dunshee said. “After I gave up that walk to (Nelson) Maldonaldo, I started to settle in and threw well.”
In the top of the ninth inning, the Gators sent Michael Byrne, this season’s NCAA saves leader, to close out the game.
Wake Forest senior catcher Ben Breazeale greeted Byrne rudely, hitting an opposite field home run to tie the score 1-1. The home run snuck just inside the left foul pole. McKetham Stadium was in stunned silence as Breazeale rounded the bases. It was Breazeale’s ninth home run of the season.