OMAHA, Neb. -- Ryan Garko had never been so nervous about catching a baseball. Hours later, the Stanford catcher calmly delivered in the clutch.
Garko, who caught President Bush's ceremonial opening-game first pitch, hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning as Stanford rallied to beat Tulane 13-11 in the longest nine-inning game in College World Series history on Friday.
"I wasn't too nervous when the game started," said Garko, a sophomore. "I was awake more last night thinking about dropping that ball from the President than I was about the game."
Garko's single during the Cardinal's five-run seventh gave Stanford (49-16) its first lead in a game Tulane (55-12) led 8-0 early on.
"Stanford made a great comeback," Tulane coach Rick Jones said. "They really battled back. We didn't pitch as well as we have all season, but I credit Stanford."
The game lasted 4 hours, 18 minutes - surpassing the previous mark of 4:01 by Arizona State and Oklahoma State in 1984. It was also the highest-scoring opening game in CWS history.
"It was a long day, but a big win for us," Stanford coach Mark Marquess said.
Sam Fuld went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, and Jonny Ash and Jason VanMeetren each had two RBIs for the Cardinal, who are in the CWS for a school-record third straight year.
Mike Wodnicki (7-1) allowed two runs and three hits in 1 2-3 innings for the Cardinal, who used seven pitchers in their sixth victory in seven games.
"It seemed like a whole section of fans were Stanford pitchers," Jones said.
After J.D Willcox allowed a run in the ninth, Jeff Bruksch, a starter this year but a reliever last season, came in with runners on second and third and no outs and got three outs for his first save of the season.
"I didn't expect to pitch today," Bruksch said. "I was up until 3 a.m. finishing a final I needed to do. Once I got out there, I felt pretty good."
Stanford, the runner-up in last year's CWS, will play the winner of Friday night's game between Cal State-Fullerton and Nebraska on Sunday night. Tulane, the nation's winningest team, will take on the loser in an elimination game.
Bush threw a strike to Garko, and shook hands with each member of both teams and the umpires before the game. He then walked off the field to a standing ovation from the predominantly red-clad Nebraska crowd. He left Rosenblatt Stadium in the top of the third - missing much of the action.
"He probably would have wished he stayed the entire game," Garko said. "It was exciting, but I don't know if he's got that kind of time on his hands, though."
Stanford trailed 8-7 in the seventh when VanMeetren drew a leadoff walk from Tulane reliever Barth Melius. Joey Charron (9-2) came on in relief, and Arik VanZandt put down a nice bunt between first base and the pitcher's mound that Charron picked up, and then dropped for an error.
Fuld followed with an RBI double to tie it, and Garko singled to give Stanford a 9-8 lead. Matt Foster relieved Charron and hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch to load the bases. After Andy Topham struck out, Ash hit a two-run single to make it 11-8. The Cardinal added another run when third baseman Jake Gautreau couldn't handle Brian Hall's grounder.
Gautreau hit a two-run double in the eighth to make it 12-10, but Fuld's sacrifice fly in the eighth gave Stanford a 13-10 lead.
Tulane scored five runs on seven hits, including five straight, off Stanford ace Jeremy Guthrie, to take a 5-0 lead in the second. Guthrie lasted just 1 1-3 innings, allowed all five runs - both season worsts - and threw just 38 pitches.
The Green Wave added three more runs in the third off Tim Cunningham and John Hudgins with Scott Madden's sacrifice fly and Jon Kaplan's two-run double making it 8-0.
But Stanford broke through with seven runs in the fifth. Tulane starter Nick Bourgeois walked Chris O'Riordan to lead off the inning, and Fuld and Garko loaded the bases with consecutive singles. Quentin drove in the Cardinal's first run with a sacrifice fly. VanMeetren hit a two-run single, and VanZandt, O'Riordan and Fuld hit consecutive RBI singles to make it 8-7.
"Late in the fourth or fifth inning, I just lost my control," Bourgeois said. "To be honest with you, I didn't know where the ball was going to go."
The game was the teams' first meeting since 1982.