Sunday’s game between LSU and South Carolina included two plays at the plate that were reviewed by umpires after a call on the field.
In both cases, the call on the field was upheld, and both runners — one for LSU, one for South Carolina — were out.
The one play that might’ve been overturned — and probably had a greater impact on the outcome — came with two outs in the eighth inning of the Tigers' 7-6 win.
LSU freshman center fielder Zach Watson hit a chopper to South Carolina shortstop Madison Stokes. With Watson hustling down the line, Stokes had to make his throw on the run.
First base umpire Darren Spagnardi called Watson safe, ruling that Stokes' throw pulled first baseman Matt Williams off the bag, allowing LSU to bring home a run home and tie the score at 5.
South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook immediately sprinted out of the dugout to argue the call, and it looked like he had reason to be upset.
Television replays showed that Williams' foot appeared to stay on the bag, but the play is not reviewable.
Instant replay in regular-season games was implemented before this season after the NCAA experimented with it in the postseason the past several years. But the process is fairly restrictive in terms of what can be reviewed.
All plays at the plate are reviewable. Umpires can also use replay to decide whether batted balls are fair or foul; to decide whether a player made a catch on a ball hit to the outfield; or if a run scored on timing plays.
It cannot be used to determine plays like Watson’s ground ball.
South Carolina assistant coach Sammy Esposito was ejected between the eighth and ninth innings for arguing with the umpires.
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WALKER’S UP AND DOWN OUTING
Though pitcher Eric Walker’s final line did not look great (five innings, seven hits, five earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts), it wasn’t entirely indicative of his overall performance.
The freshman right-hander was coming off two poor outings, but felt he had a much better command Sunday than in the past few weeks.
Asked if he felt closer to where he was earlier this season, Walker said: “Not results-wise, but stuff-wise for sure. It gave me some confidence as far as where my (pitches) were located.”
Walker allowed one run on two hits and two walks through four innings before he started to unravel a bit in the fifth.
South Carolina led off the fifth with three straight hits, and a misplayed ball in the infield brought Alex Destino to the plate with two runners on. Walker misfired on a 2-2 pitch, and Destino pummeled the full-count offering for a three-run homer.
“I had him where I wanted him, but the 2-2 pitch, the changeup — I left it up; it just got away from me,” Walker said. “The 3-2 pitch, I thought it was a good changeup down, but he put a good swing on it.”
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South Carolina seemed to take control of Sunday's game with a four-run fifth inning that could've ended with just one run crossing the plate.
With one out and runners on first and second, Jonah Bride hit what looked to be a tailor-made double-play ball to LSU third baseman Josh Smith. But Smith froze when he saw LT Tolbert bearing down on him from second, and the play ended with Smith running Tolbert back to second base for the second out.
If the Tigers had completed a double play, they would've been out of the inning.
Instead, one batter later, Destino clubbed his three-run homer.
“Freshmen, sometimes you have to learn from experience. ... It wasn’t good at the time, but that’s how the whole day was," senior shortstop Kramer Robertson said. "When someone didn’t get the job done, someone picked him up.”