During this college baseball season, we've seen plenty of whacky endings to games, but the Minnesota State Mavericks and Augustana Vikings Super Regional opening game's ending might take the cake.
Augustana was down 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth. The count was 3-2, there were two outs, and the bases were loaded. This is the moment every kid imagines in the backyard growing up.
How do you think this ended? Walk-off grand slam? A blooper into right? A walk to bring in the tying run? Nope. Instead, Augustana batter Ragan Pinnow leaned into the pitch and was ruled out by the home plate umpire.
Game ends with the bases loaded and the tying run on third because the hitter leaned in on the payoff pitch pic.twitter.com/6HDayp97zT
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 27, 2023
The Vikings were down 5-0 in the ninth inning and rallied back, scoring four runs against Mavericks reliever Dylan Gotto before bringing in Spencer Wright.
After viewing the video above, what do you think? Did Pinnow lean into the pitch?
To us, he certainly did. The rules are that a batter must try to avoid being hit by a pitch. It was a bit inside, but ironically, if the player took the pitch, it likely would've traveled inside, resulting in the fourth ball he wanted.
Here's the thing, though: it doesn't matter where the pitch would've ended up. The NCAA added a rule in 2019 stating if a batter intentionally leans into a pitch to a draw a hit-by-pitch, the pitch is called a strike. Here's what it says:
"A batter may not make a movement to intentionally get hit by the pitch, regardless of the location of the pitch. He must also avoid being hit whenever possible, unless the pitch is within the batter's box occupied by the batter. If the batter's action is deemed intentional, then: a) If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or if the batter moves to intentionally get hit or freezes to allow a pitch that is not within the batter's box to hit him, the ball is dead, it shall be called a strike and the batter is not awarded first base."
The decision was reviewed, but the Mavericks were ultimately awarded the win. These teams played a doubleheader on Saturday after playing this game. The result? The Vikings came back and won back-to-back games by a combined score of 24-5 and advanced to the NCAA D-II Championship this weekend.
Needed ?? wins, got ?? wins.
Relive our Central Region Championship from Saturday?
— Augustana Baseball (@AugieBaseball) May 28, 2023
Let this serve as a lesson to swing the bat.
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