How Many Innings College Baseball

How Many Innings College Baseball

Unlike other sports, baseball is not timed using a clock (although non-professional baseball leagues can have time limits). Instead, baseball uses innings, and each game can have a different number of innings. The number of innings played can vary from the type of league and the level of the league, however, there is a standard regulation or official minimum number of innings set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

How Many Innings College Baseball

The official number of innings for a college baseball game is nine innings. However, the number of innings can be extended if the game is tied after the final inning. Additionally, games can end quicker than nine innings when the ten-run rule is in effect or when teams have a doubleheader.

Did you know that the longest college baseball game had 25 innings? The game lasted for over just over seven hours, which shows two things. First, a baseball game has no time limits. Secondly, the number of innings can change depending on the game’s rules.

What Factors Determine the Number of Innings in A College Baseball Game?

1. The Mercy Rule Ends a Game Early

Have you ever wondered why a baseball game ends early? Out of the 7 ways to end a baseball game, the mercy rule is one of the more well-known rules in baseball. But is there a mercy rule in college baseball?

College baseball has a mercy rule, also known as the ten-run rule, that goes into effect after one team is leading by ten or more runs after completing seven innings. The team leading by ten or more runs is declared the winner.

Similarly, if a game was scheduled for seven innings and, by the fifth inning, a team is winning by ten or more runs, the game is called and a winner is declared. For more information on this rule, I recommend reading what is the 10-run rule in Baseball.

2. Doubleheader Games Can be Scheduled for 7 Innings

A doubleheader is when two teams play each other two times on the same day.

While the NCAA prefers doubleheader games to be nine innings, it does allow one or both of the doubleheader games to be scheduled as a 7 inning game. A lot of the time, teams will play seven innings because the players might be exhausted, which affects their performance.

In college baseball, the number of innings played during doubleheaders can be scheduled in three different ways. These are:

  • Two nine-inning games
  • One nine-inning game and one seven-inning game
  • Two seven-inning games

The managers decide scheduling depending on what they think is best for the players and the team.

3. The Last Game of an Intra-Conference Series can be 7 Innings

The last game of an intra-conference series is the only other time the NCAA allows a game to be shortened to seven innings.

This usually allows players enough travel time to get to their next game, depending on the travel restrictions.

4. Tie Games Keep Going Until One Team Wins

If both teams are tied at the end of the ninth inning, the game will have to go into extra innings. There is no cap on the number of extra innings the teams should play. Therefore, the game will continue until there is a clear winner.

The longest college baseball game ever played was 25 innings for a total of 7 hours and 3 minutes. This game was between Texas and Boston College on May 30, 2009.

There are also lots of other college baseball games that have lasted 20 innings or more. Check out this article from the NCAA to see the list of the longest college baseball games in D1 history.

5. Weather Can End Games Early

Weather is impossible to predict when games are scheduled so it’s inevitable a game will either be canceled or end early due to weather conditions.

If at least five innings have been completed, a college baseball game can end early due to weather and the team who is winning will be declared the winner of that game. Any game ending before 5 innings have been completed will be declared a “no game” and teams will need to reschedule.

the bottom of the fifth inning and the game ends early due to weather, the home team will be declared the winner. So technically, college baseball games can be as short as 4 and a half innings.

Some people may also find it strange that baseball games aren’t played in the rain while other sports, like football, are allowed to continue in the rain.

6. Forfeited Games Can Result in No Innings Played

While forfeiting a game is always a last resort, some games will be forfeited. Baseball games can be forfeited at any time which means that a team could win a game by playing as few as zero innings.

If one team forfeits the game before the game even starts, the other team wins and no innings will be played.

What are Extra Innings, and How Do They Work in College Baseball?

An extra inning is any inning played after the official nine innings in a baseball game. Extra innings only occur when the game ends in a tie. how many innings of college baseball? There is no maximum amount of extra innings. Therefore, the game continues until either team takes the lead.

An extra inning has the same format as a normal inning, meaning each team gets three outs. Following MLB’s lead in 2021, NCAA baseball changed extra inning rules to include an “automatic runner”. Now, extra innings have no outs, and a “designated runner” starts on second base.

Additionally, the runner in each half-inning should be the person who made the last out in the previous inning. These rules aim to make the game end as quickly as possible. This rule came in handy during the pandemic as seasons were much shorter than usual.

How Long is One Inning in College Baseball?

The average time of an inning in baseball is 20 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the players’ skills. For example, in rookie leagues, the innings can take longer because the players’ pitching and batting skills are not as good when compared to professional leagues.


In conclusion, college baseball games are typically played over nine innings, providing a balance of strategy, skill, and endurance. However, the flexibility of the rules allows for variations, with extra innings in the event of a tie, or shorter games in certain situations.

This dynamic nature of college baseball innings adds an extra layer of excitement and unpredictability to the sport, making each game a unique experience. Whether you’re a player on the field or a fan in the stands, the number of innings in a college baseball game is a fundamental part of the sport’s charm and appeal.


Q: Is there a mercy rule in college baseball regarding innings?

A: Yes, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has implemented a mercy rule in college baseball. If a team is ahead by 10 or more runs after seven innings (or six and a half if the home team is ahead), the game can be called, and the leading team is declared the winner.

Q: Are there any differences between college baseball innings and Major League Baseball (MLB) innings?

A: No, the structure of innings in college baseball mirrors that of Major League Baseball. Both levels play nine innings per game, and the fundamental rules governing innings, such as three outs per half-inning, are consistent.

Q: How long does a typical college baseball game last with nine innings?

A: The duration of a college baseball game can vary, but on average, a nine-inning game typically takes around two and a half to three hours to complete. Factors such as pitching changes, offensive strategies, and game situations can influence the overall length of the game.

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