On May 11, 1991, Jo Evans' Utah softball team began the Western Athletic Conference's tournament final against Creighton at 6 p.m.
Fifty-six innings later, at 6:10 a.m. the following morning, the tournament concluded with the Utes earning the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament, a story recently retold in an ESPNW.com article.
Creighton entered the final needing two wins over Evans' Utes to claim the title in the double-elimination tournament. The first game ended in a 1-0 Blue Jay win after 31 innings and 710 pitches thrown.
During the waning innings of that game, players began showing signs of mental fatigue, including Utah center fielder Charmelle Green, who stood while pitches were thrown without her glove on her hand, according to the ESPNW.com story.
"I recall losing my mind at points in time," Green told ESPNW.com. "And having [head coach Jo] Evans say 'Charmelle, get with it, you can do this.'"
The conference needed to award an automatic berth before the release of the NCAA bracket on May 12, so the two teams took a 20-minute break before starting the second game of the final. The first pitch crossed the plate at 12:45 a.m., according to the article.
Twenty-five innings later, Utah punched its ticket into the NCAA Tournament with a 4-3 win that concluded as the sun began to rise, according to the article. The double header accounts for two of the top three longest NCAA softball games ever.
"The game was just played in its purest sense," Evans told ESPNW.com. "That's something that will always be a fond memory of mine, one that stands out more given the climate of our sport now."
Both games featured 407 at-bats, according to the Creighton Athletics department.
The Utes carried momentum into the NCAA regional at the Lady Aggie Softball Field, where they knocked off Texas A&M, Evans' current coaching home, and would advance to the Women's College World Series.
Evans told ESPNW.com she believes her team's performance against the Aggies is what would eventually land her the gig in College Station.
The final two innings of the 31-inning Game 1 can be watched on YouTube below: