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The Least Painful Hit By Pitch in NCAA History Looked Like Slow Motion

They say you never know what you are going to see when you go to the ballpark on a given night. We got another dose of that truth during yesterday's Southeastern Conference game between Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

In the bottom of the eighth inning last night at Dudy Noble Field, Texas A&M junior Brandyn Garcia was facing Mississippi State junior infielder Amani Larry when Garcia threw a pitch that he'd like to forget.

Now, it's being called "the dumbest hit by pitch in baseball history."

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On an 0-2 count, Garcia seemed to go through a normal windup and prepared to deliver home, but his right foot came down flat and he lost the ability to push off with his left leg and throw a normal pitch. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Garcia lobbed the ball wildly over the plate in the direction of Larry, as the crowd let out an emphatic gasp.

With Garcia off the rubber and nobody on base for him to advance via a balk, the pitch was automatically due to be called a ball. However, in a display of patience and high baseball IQ, Larry saw that the ball was headed his way and stood perfectly still in the box. The pseudo-eephus pitch probably came in at about 35 miles per hour and bounced once in the dirt before "hitting" (more like tapping) Larry on the upper leg, allowing him to take first base.

The SEC Network crew didn't know what to say about the bizarre play. "Oh, my," was the only expression offered by one of the broadcasters, while the other could only muse "Did that just hit him?"

Garcia, a left handed pitcher from Granby, Connecticut, transferred to A&M after three years at Quinnipiac University in Hamden. He has appeared in 22 games for the Aggies, with a 2-3 record, one save and a 4.00 ERA. He has hit seven batters of the 149 he has faced this year, and has a 48:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This hit-by-pitch is surely the strangest one of his career.

The Rebels won the game 10-8 to open up a three-game series in Starkville. It's the regular season finale for State, who has struggled to a 27-24 record that includes 9-19 in SEC play. The Aggies are 30-23 and 12-16 in the conference, whose postseason tournament starts next Tuesday in Alabama.

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