One of the strangest NCAA baseball videos in a long while came from the game between the Louisville Cardinals (#3 in the most recent D1Baseball.com poll, #2 in the coaches’ poll) and the Western Michigan Broncos Friday. With the score tied at one in the top of the third, Western Michigan’s Logan Hudson belted a ball to the wall and wound up with a triple, as the Broncos’ Twitter account enthusiastically reported:
T3 | Pshhh…who needs a single or a double. @LoganHud_24 goes big with a one out triple!
WMU – 1⃣
No.3 Louisville – 1⃣
📺 | https://t.co/YXsqAwNU2X#WeWillReign pic.twitter.com/FbAdNlG8ZB
— WMU Baseball (@WMUBaseball) February 28, 2020
And that’s how it was scored. But look at that video closely. The ball that Louisville right fielder Levi Usher picks up from the track is clearly visible on the ground there while the ball Hudson hit is still in the air. And as the ball doesn’t show up elsewhere in the clip, it seems most likely that it cleared the fence for a home run, and that he was only held to a triple thanks to Usher throwing in the second ball.
Always keep an extra ball on the track pic.twitter.com/i5uXmKC1Y6
— Foul Pole Sports (@FoulPoleSports) February 28, 2020
This isn’t necessarily intentional cheating from Usher; it’s possible he didn’t know where the ball was, looked around, saw a ball on the track, assumed it deflected there, and threw it in. And it doesn’t appear Western Michigan even noticed anything wrong at the time. But in retrospect, this sure seems like a missed call. And while this play alone didn’t necessarily make the difference in the game (Louisville won 8-6), Hudson didn’t wind up scoring here, so the score could have been different. And maybe other things would have changed if this run had counted. At any rate, it’s certainly a weird thing to see, and it raises big questions about why there was a ball laying on the track in the first place.
[Foul Pole Sports on Twitter]