LSU softball player Georgia Clark plays with fire and passion — but in the Tigers' elimination from the NCAA tournament over the weekend, it earned her an ejection that ended her college career.
In LSU's regional final loss against the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in Baton Rouge, the fifth-year senior was tossed in the sixth inning for chirping at the home plate umpire after he made the wrong call on what he thought was a foul tip earlier in Clark's at-bat. Clark fouled out to end the at-bat, and she apparently thought the umpire was to blame. LSU ended up losing the game 8-9.
The ejection ended a series of events for Clark that have been debated among LSU softball fans.
Georgia Clark's Ejection, and the Call She Was Right About
In the video above, Clark squares to bunt on a 1-1 count with her team up 8-7 in the sixth inning and a runner on first. She quickly pulls the bat back, and the ball squirts away to advance the runner. The umpire thought he heard a foul tip off Clark's bat, but replay clearly showed that wasn't the case. Clark, naturally, was furious. Instead of a 2-1 count and a chance for the power hitter to do some damage, she was now facing a 1-2 count.
It wasn't particularly close, either:
Clark fought her way to a 3-2 count before fouling out. She let the umpire know how she felt about the blown call, and he promptly ejected her — ending her career, because LSU's season would end with this loss.
"I think she turned back to the umpire and said, 'That's on you,'" ESPN announcer Francesca Enea said on the broadcast. "Feeling slighted for that strike. The one given on her earlier in the at-bat when she showed the bunt. Wow. ... I don't like the toss. I understand you're fired up. This is a pressure moment. Could be potentially your last game here. You want to be able to keep your composure, but you cannot take a player out of the game that quickly."
Clark also confirmed on Twitter she told the umpire, "That's on you." To her credit, she also said she lived with the consequences.
ehhh probably because he missed one of the most egregious calls of my career. I told him verbatim ?that?s on you? and then I live with those consequences. but don?t make me out to be this big bad wolf austin. I was playing a game that I love and worked really hard at for 20 years
— Georgia Clark (@georgia_clark5) May 22, 2023
It wasn't the first interaction Clark had with an umpire that day.
Clark's Interaction With Umpire Earlier Wasn't Criticism
Can?t do this. The broadcast said ?well men do it?. And they get tossed for doing stuff like this to. pic.twitter.com/s1Bgkv8NJ3
— AYS Sports (@AYSSPORTS) May 22, 2023
What's important to know about Clark's day is what happened earlier.
In the same 8-9 loss to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Clark crushed a solo home run to get LSU on the board in the second inning. As she rounded the bases, she had a few words for the umpire at second base. Many at home thought her words were negative, but she clarified on Twitter afterward she was actually congratulating him for making the correct call on a Clark home run that was ruled foul in the first game that day.
just to clarify for everyone. this umpire was the third debase umpire in the first game and he was the second base umpire in second game. on my home run knowing I probably wouldn?t get a chance to tell him I said ?you made the right call? from the game before. give athletes grace https://t.co/rfkNOHXcNV
— Georgia Clark (@georgia_clark5) May 22, 2023
Clark nearly tied up the first game on Sunday with her team down 7-4 in the seventh inning on a home run that was ruled foul. LSU lost to force the decisive second game that day. You can see it in the video below:
All of this means that some fans don't think her ejection was warranted, especially because the umpire made such a bad call during her at-bat.
Still, Clark's ejection and actions have been debated all over social media. Some have argued that players should never chirp at the umpire, while others have said she was ejected simply because she was a woman playing with passion.
Doesn?t matter. As a player you NEVER chirp at the ump. I get being an emotional player but that?s a huge NO NO your taught at a young age to let the coaches jaw at the umps. Not the player. Georgia Clark has no discipline. https://t.co/2icT40Onxm
— Amber Nichole (@amber_nichole34) May 21, 2023
Look I understand we want to say that a male wouldn?t get tossed but her getting a strike called on her yes effects the AB but come on?.you are Georgia Clark?a Senior?you?ve gotta be better than that. Plus she talked earlier. #NCAARegionalsSB
— Kyndall White (@coachkw01) May 22, 2023
COLLEGE BASEBALL PLAYERS DO SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT GEORGIA CLARK JUST DID!!!!! That was absolutely ridiculous!! You can?t throw someone out because your feelings got hurt blue!!!
— Erin Weigle (@E_Dubb9) May 21, 2023
Circling back to this but the answer is yes. Baseball players, pro and college, get tossed for arguing balls and strikes on a daily basis. Georgia Clark not only did that but she gestured to an umpire twice. She earned her ejection. https://t.co/4rDqk8pAEy
— Michael (@realmichaelc_) May 22, 2023
If you ask me, Clark shouldn't have been tossed. She didn't cuss the umpire out, yet she expressed her frustrations in a manner I think was appropriate.
Whether the call truly affected the outcome of the game is up for debate. Who knows? Maybe Clark crushes a home run on what should've been a 2-1 count, and LSU takes a commanding lead to advance to the super regionals.
Instead, Clark's career ended with an ejection.
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