TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle didn’t blame the umpires for a bizarre ruling during Saturday’s season-opening 7-3 loss to Ole Miss. His beef is more with the rule book.
College baseball, for whatever reason, decided a couple years ago to adjust its “hit by pitch” rules by telling umpires to call a strike in situations where batters are deemed to “make an intentional movement to be hit by a pitch, regardless of where the pitch is located.”
It’s Rule 8.2d.1 and the rationale was explained that it would deter batters from “attempting to be hit by the pitch.”
Well, TCU’s Gene Wood was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning with two on, two out by Ole Miss’ Taylor Broadway. The 2-2 pitch was clearly inside the batter’s box — we’re talking about a pitch that wasn’t even close to the strike zone — but Wood moved his right thigh into the pitch, according to the umpires.
Instead of the bases being loaded with designated hitter Austin Henry coming up in what was then a 4-3 game, TCU’s inning ended with Wood being called out by the catcher, unassisted, and stranding two on base.
“Really unfortunate,” Schlossnagle said. “You can’t blame the umpire. It’s their job to enforce the rule. The rule itself is an embarrassment to college baseball. The actual rule, not the umpire applying it. It’s the rule itself. In no other level of baseball is that rule in play. ... That’s not why we lost the game.”
Yes, TCU didn’t lose the game based on that call or ruling. But it still served as a head-scratcher as it awarded an out for a pitcher who threw a poor pitch.
Asked what else Wood could have done, Schlossnagle said: “I don’t know. The ball is in the batter’s box. It’s a bad pitch. You can’t reward a bad pitch, and that’s what the rule does. It rewards a bad pitch. … I don’t know what else Gene is supposed to do.”
TCU returns to action against Mississippi State on Sunday. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. on Day 2 of the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field.
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