The college baseball world is fuming following an undeserved ejection during an NCAA Regional matchup between the Clemson Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers. The ejection will leave Clemson without one of its top players during a key elimination game.
The Tigers and Vols battled in an exciting extra inning contest on Saturday as both looked to avoid a postseason loss and advance to the winner’s bracket.
Trailing 4-2 in the top of the ninth inning, Tennessee’s Zane Denton blasted a two-out, three-run homer to give his team a late lead. It was Denton’s second home run on the night.
THIS HAS TO BE A DREAM
VOLS PUT TWO ON WITH TWO OUTS AND ZANE BLASTS A THREE-RUN SHOT TO GIVE TENNESSEE THE LEAD DOWN TO ITS FINAL STRIKE pic.twitter.com/ekdI48lTSQ
— Tennessee Baseball (@Vol_Baseball) June 4, 2023
Just as Tennessee appeared to have the game locked up, Clemson struck back with some two-out magic of its own. Tigers centerfielder Cam Cannarella smacked a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the frame to even things up.
Free baseball would ensue.
.@CamCannarella COMES THROUGH!!!!! TIE GAME!!!
B9 || TEN 5, CU 5
— Clemson Baseball (@ClemsonBaseball) June 4, 2023
The score would remain 5-5 over the next four innings. Clemson loaded the bases with nobody out in the 10th but was unable to plate a run. Tennessee threatened in the 11th and 13th but wouldn’t score.
The Vols finally broke through the top of the 14th frame on a Hunter Ensley double to take the lead. That 6-5 score would hold steady as the Tigers failed to record a hit in their final at-bat.
The win boosted Tennessee into the winner’s bracket while sending host team Clemson to play an elimination game against Charlotte.
There was controversy in that loss for the Tigers after one of their top players was ejected late in the game.
College baseball world fuming after Clemson ejection
Centerfielder Cam Cannarella, who tied the game up in the bottom of the ninth inning, was tossed in the 13th frame for trash talking his opponent.
— Stephen Schoch (@bigdonkey47) June 4, 2023
Cannarella appeared to say something to a Tennessee player while leaving the field, which umpires say warranted the ejection. Clemson head coach Erik Bakich was told that it was the second offense.
“The explanation was that there was already a warning issued earlier in the game for unsportsmanlike,” Bakich explained. “I guess there was some jawing back and forth… I didn’t notice it, but the umpires got together and issued warnings.
“Then after the double play… something [Cannarella] said was directed to the other team, and so they ejected him for it.”
While the situation may have been officiated correctly by the rulebooks, most of the college baseball world was irate after seeing Cannarella get tossed.
In the moment, commentator Kyle Peters sounded off by saying, “There’s zero way that you can throw a kid out for doing that.” Others agreed.
Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball said, “This is some weak sauce. C’mon.”
Trey Wallace of Outkick wrote, “The umpires ejected Clemson’s Cam Cannarella for… showing emotion? This is stupid… Unreal.”
Former Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst chimed in on the ejection, commenting, “Booted the ACC Freshman of the year in the 13th inning of a regional for that? And he also has to serve a suspension tomorrow? Absurd.”
By rule, Cannarella will miss the Tigers’ next matchup against Charlotte. Even if you agree with the ejection, many believe the suspension rule should be changed.
As usual, @KP_Omaha with a thoughtful and measured take, presumably in reference to the Cannarella ejection. I agree with Kyle here. But also, I really hate the automatic one-game suspension for any ejection, with no appeals process. This really, really needs to change. https://t.co/afCxes20ze
— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) June 4, 2023
Clemson will play without its star freshman on Sunday as it looks to keep its season alive. The Tigers will need to beat Charlotte in order to force a rematch against Tennessee.