A college baseball game between the College of Charleston and Clemson ended in controversy. A ruling in the final inning of play has many fans around the sport talking.
The Palmetto State rivals faced off in midweek play on Tuesday, providing viewers with a competitive matchup. Unfortunately, that close battle was decided in a contentious way, with one side feeling that they’d been robbed of an opportunity to win.
The College of Charleston took an early lead in the matchup, jumping out to a 2-0 lead through over the first four innings. The two teams traded runs over the next few frames, with the Cougars holding a 3-1 advantage heading into the eighth.
Clemson exploded for three runs in the bottom half of the inning, taking their first lead of the contest at 4-3. With one last chance to even the score, the Cougars took to the plate in the top of the ninth.
Charleston got the first runner on as pinch hitter Daren Kirven reached on an infield single. He advanced to second on a throwing error, giving the Cougars a man in scoring position with nobody out.
Clemson pitcher Jackson Lindley retired the next two batters without harm, leaving one final out to close out a win for the Tigers.
That’s when a controversial college baseball rule would come into effect.
With two outs, Charleston’s Will Baumhofer tapped a grounder over the head of the pitcher which was then cut off by the shortstop. The infielder threw over to first in an attempt to get the out, but it appeared that the throw was a bit late.
The first base umpire initially called Baumhofer out, which would’ve effectively ended the game. While this was happening, Kirven raced around third base and appeared to score the tying run, which wouldn’t matter with the out call at first.
Wow. Clemson catches a break. Charleston appeared to tie the game, but by rule has to be sent back to 3rd after review.
Tigers get next hitter out and take the ballgame. pic.twitter.com/94IJEYnY2M
— 11Point7: The College Baseball Podcast 🎙 (@11point7) March 14, 2023
Upon review, officials overturned the out ruling at first as Baumhofer clearly beat the throw by a step. However, they put Kirven back on third base due to the original missed call. Chaos ensued.
Cougars head coach Chad Holbrook stormed from the dugout, pleading his case for why the tying run should’ve counted but to no avail.
Clemson retired the next hitter to end the game at 4-3.
College baseball fans quickly commented on the controversial ending. Many believe the run should’ve scored.
Man that’s rough. I bet the umpires rock paper scissored for who had to go tell the Charleston skipper.
— Shot Nixon (@shotnixon) March 14, 2023
Absolutely garbage rule. Just absolutely terrible
— Broderick Moore, MS, LAT, ATC (@brodmo) March 14, 2023
There were others, though, that believe the umps got it right. At least after botching the initial ruling.
I mean he was 2-3 steps from third. 100 percent right call. Ump calls the guy out at first and the 1B didn’t even think to throw it home bc the games over. It be different if he was half way home
— Trevor Gerard (@TrevorGerard13) March 14, 2023
How is this even a question if the first baseman is told runners out with 2 outs already
— Tyler Padgett (@TheBigT44) March 14, 2023
Tough result for Charleston, but it’s impossible to know if the play would’ve unfolded the same way had the runner at first originally been ruled safe.
If the call was correctly made, the Tigers first baseman likely gears up for his throw home a bit quicker. Hearing “out” gives the infielder no reason to make the throw to the plate as the inning and game had ended.
It’s not the first controversial ending we’ve seen between Power Five and Mid-Major teams, it’s just the latest. College baseball in the Palmetto State is a religion so these two fanbases will be sure to debate up until the next meeting.