How Many Innings In A Baseball Game? (The Best Info Guide)

Baseball is a game that has fascinated Americans for over a century now. As interesting as the game is, so is to know how the game is structured. Baseball’s basic unit is innings. 

Do you know how many innings in a baseball game? Before answering that we need to explain about innings first.

So, what are innings?

One inning is simply that time of play where one team pitches the opponent team till they accomplish their goal of taking three players out. Subsequently, the roles are changed, and the first team that has lost three players tries to do the same with their opponent.

How Many Innings In A Baseball Game
How Many Innings In A Baseball Game?

Nine innings are played in professional league matches. The inning has two parts- the top half and the bottom half. In the first half, one team will bat while the other pitches. After losing three players by the first at-bat team, the pitching team bats in the bottom half, while the at-bat team pitches. 

To help our baseball-lover readers understand baseball better, we have curated this information most simplistically. Hopefully, it will guide you appropriately to understand the structure of baseball in a better way.

How Many Innings In A Baseball Game?

Several factors may affect the duration of any inning. These factors are the at-bats numbers, the pitcher’s pace, modifications in pitching, etc. Each team has to take three outs in an inning, totaling six outs per inning.

A typical baseball league and collegiate game comprise nine innings. High school baseball matches run for seven innings. The pitching team has to take three outs within an inning.

If they fail to do so, the innings may not have a definite time to end. Averagely, the duration of an entire baseball game can go for three hours or more.

In the case of the score reaching a tie, additional innings are played.

What Is The Duration Of A Baseball Inning? 

Assuming a typical baseball going for 3 hours, each inning will be played for approximately 20 mins (3 hours = 180 mins/9 innings). But to end an inning, each team has to take out three players from their opponent. If they fail so, the innings can go on for an indefinite time.

The Number of Innings in a Baseball Game

A total of nine innings are played in a professional baseball game. An extra inning is played if the score reaches a tie. A game may be truncated at the top half of the ninth inning if a team has scored more than its opponent.

The number of innings in an MLB postseason or World Series doesn’t differ. They are nine innings played for both. The only difference is when the game is stopped due to rain or another calamity.

After rainfall, in the case of the regular season, the game concludes with a winning team; whereas, in the postseason or world series, the game will continue the next day.

The Number of Innings in a Baseball Game
The Number of Innings in a Baseball Game

However, there may be instances of a quick game, where the match in the postseason or world series can be wrapped earlier without having to play all nine innings.

An All-star game also comprises nine innings. However, if the scores tie, no extra inning will be played. Instead, the winning team will be decided by Home Run Derby. Three batters will participate based on the manager’s selection. These batters will be awarded three swings. The one that scores the highest will be declared the winner.

Types Of Innings In Baseball

Each inning in baseball depends on the action going on in the game. Let’s understand the complete breakdown of a single inning.

Types Of Innings In Baseball
Types Of Innings In Baseball

Top of the Inning

In the top of an inning, the visiting team bats while the home team pitches and defend.

Middle of the Inning

In the middle of an inning, a pitching shift happens between the teams. After three outs recorded by the home team, roles change. The at-bat visiting team takes on pitching while the home team bats. The middle of the inning awards an opportunity for players to warm up for around 1-2 minutes.

Bottom of the Inning

Home team batting happens in the bottom of the inning. The home team gets an advantage by batting at last, even in extra innings. That’s why the home team must win by taking advantage of the home ground.

Ninth Inning

The ninth inning is the last phase of MLB baseball games. If a score reaches a tie during this inning, the teams are awarded an extra inning to decide the game’s fate.

Sometimes, the bottom of the ninth inning may be skipped. Or it terminates before recording three outs. The game will end in the ninth inning if the following possibilities are met.

  1. If the home team is leading during the end of the top half.
  2. If the home team lags behind or the score is tied at the end of the top half. Later the home team scores more points than the visiting team before the opposing team records three outs at the bottom of the inning.
  3. If the visiting team leads at the end of the inning after recording three outs during the bottom half of the ninth inning.

How Long Does An Average Baseball Game Last?

An average baseball game last for approximately three hours. However, the duration may vary depending on various factors. These are:

How Long Does An Average Baseball Game Last
How Long Does An Average Baseball Game Last?
  1. The number of innings played. Fewer innings- shorter the game; more innings- longer the game.
  2. Bad weather (rain or snowfall etc.)
  3. A score reaching a tie warrants one extra inning.

What Is The Duration Of A Minor League Baseball Game? How many innings are in baseball minor league?

Minor league baseball follows Major League regulations. It also includes AAA, AA, and a few professional leagues. For counting a minor league baseball game in the official category, it is expected to have a minimum of five innings. However, a standard game will have nine innings.

What Is The Duration Of A Collegiate Baseball Game?

The collegiate baseball game also runs till nine innings are complete. After the completion of nine innings, it is counted as an ‘official’ game by the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Another condition to fulfill the ‘official’ credentials is to have one of the teams leading by 10 runs after five innings.

What Is The Duration Of A High School Baseball Game?

The average duration is seven innings. These games are governed by NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations). The states are allowed to implement their own regulations on the game. It includes the number of innings also. Doubleheaders are required to play through seven innings in a high school baseball game.

Can Games End Before 9 Innings of Baseball in the Regular Season?

Yes, a game in the regular season can end before completing nine innings. In fact, it doesn’t have to reach the ninth inning. In an instance where a team takes a lead of 5-3 over the other in the fifth inning.

At this point, there’s significant rainfall compelling the umpires to call off the game. In such a case, the team with the highest score wins. In addition, the game is put into the ‘official’ category.

Extra Innings

An extra inning is allotted when the score reaches a tie after completing nine innings. Recently a new rule was formed to shorten the length of extra-inning games. Now, there will be a runner on the second base when the extra-inning starts. It is believed it will help speed up the game’s decision and bring more excitement.

Extra Innings
Extra Innings

Previously, extra-inning had the same structure as the regular nine innings. The teams had to record three outs per inning. At the end of the extra inning, the team that scored more was the winner.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does baseball go 7 or 9 innings?

Most professional games go for nine innings. The fifth inning is looked at as a threshold. High school baseball games go for 7 innings.

How many innings is an official MLB game?

A typical official MBL game runs for nine innings.

Is 7 innings a complete game?

Yes. If rain occurs and the match is called off, the umpires can put the game into an official category and declare the high-scoring team as the winner.


An inning is one of the units of baseball. A professional match comprises a total of nine innings. While high school, minor, and little leagues are capped at seven or six innings. The fifth inning in a professional match is looked at as a threshold. At the end of the fifth inning, if rain occurs, the team with the high score is the winner.

A typical inning is divided into two parts- the top half and the bottom half. A score tie may result in playing an extra inning. Having the innings structured in the baseball game helps to decide the duration of a baseball game.

Having nine innings gives sufficient scope for both teams to contribute substantially to overcome each other.

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