Feb. 23, 1999
Almost seven hours, 22 innings, and 75 at bats after the first pitch in a Sunday night ballgame, the Baylor Bears finally came away victorious over the No. 24 Houston Cougars, 8-2.
In the top of the 22nd inning, after 12 straight innings of scoreless baseball, junior outfielder Anthony Hensley reached base on a bunt single. Then first baseman Matt Williams followed with a walk, and junior third baseman Preston Underdown drove in the winning run with a single to right field.
"We were out there for about seven hours and when we got the winning run across, we were pretty excited," said Underdown. "I gave our first base coach a hug and told him I hoped that we could go home soon."
The marathon of a game tied the NCAA record for innings played, and set several Baylor records including 87 plate appearances and 20 strikeouts. The game saw 13 different pitchers, 28 different batters, 25 hits, and two coach ejections.
"No one thought we would go 22 innings, but it was a lot of fun," said senior centerfielder Jon Topolski.
Underdown's game-winning single was his first hit in eight at bats on the night. Hensley had entered the game in extra innings for junior starting pitcher and designated hitter Jason Jennings.
Jennings pitched solidly into the eighth inning, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out eight. The 1998 and 1999 All-American also had an impressive night at the plate. The Bears trailed 2-1 in the top of the ninth inning when Jennings blasted a solo homer on the first pitch to send the game into extra innings.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Taylor recorded his first win of the season, pitching the final six scoreless innings. The Bears shutout the Cougars for the final 17 frames of the game.
"Our pitchers did a great job keeping us in there," said Underdown. "There were a lot of close calls where they pitched very well and got us out of jams."
With the win, Baylor moved to 8-4 on the season and won the Adamis Mark Invitational by sweeping all three games on the weekend.
The Bears would go on to win a record 50 wins in 1999, finishing the season ranked No. 8 by Baseball America. Baylor advanced to the Waco Super Regional as the No. 4 overall seed where they lost to Oklahoma State.
Baylor's Jason Jennings finished 1999 as the first ever consensus National Player of the Year in division I history, sweeping the six major collegiate awards. In 1999, Jennings led Baylor in batting average as well as leading the Big 12 in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched. Jennings was the first round pick of the Colorado Rockies, and earned the National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2001. Jennings is currently a starting pitcher for the Houston Astros.
Second Baseman, Eric Nelson finished the season as Baylor's first player to notch 100 hits in a season (102). Nelson remains Baylor's career leader in RBI (204) as well as third in doubles (64), and fourth in batting average (.346).
Jon Topolski finished his career in 1999 with the Baylor career records in home runs (50), runs (285), hits (333), triples (33), total bases (574), and walks (185). The Lexington Legends, a Houston Astros farm team, recently inducted Topolski into their Hall of Fame.
Written by Luke Blount, Student Athletic Media Relations Assistant