Tennessee and Clemson’s baseball teams staged an instant classic in their matchup on Saturday night in the Clemson Regional. The game had just about everything fans would want.
Unfortunately, it also had something that no fans want. A head-scratching ejection.
The Volunteers staged a serious threat in the top half of the 13th inning, loading the bases with only one out. But the Tigers got out of it when pitcher Nick Clayton got Tennessee’s Christian Scott to hit into an inning-ending double play.
While the play was exciting, there was nothing remotely controversial about it. The calls at second and first were both obvious. So, it seemed unusual that Clemson’s head coach, Erik Bakich, was arguing with the umpires when the broadcast resumed. It took a half-inning but eventually, it got figured out.
After the double play was turned, Cam Cannarella, Clemson’s freshman center fielder, was running in. As he got close to second base, he appeared to say something to Tennessee’s Zane Denton, who was forced out on the double play. Whatever Cannarella said didn’t trigger much emotion from the Volunteers, as Denton and all of his teammates were walking to the other dugout.
But Angel Campos, the second base umpire and crew chief, thought that Cannarella’s actions warranted an ejection.
"There's zero way that you can throw a kid out for doing that. Either one of them. And I don't know what was said. But they're going the other way, guys. We're not face-to-face. We're not initiating anything. They're fired up. They're running off the field. This has got to stop." pic.twitter.com/G2gOfj1HyO
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 4, 2023
Fans were unhappy with the ejection.
Ridiculous call by umps. Good work by the TV crew. https://t.co/NTcmJHw8BX
— Fred Cunningham (@fredontv) June 4, 2023
I'd better find out someone threatened some major bodily harm because otherwise this is ridiculous https://t.co/anCtD4CHxD
— Referee Jared Hawkins (@RefJHawk) June 4, 2023
Probably not a great sign when the ump who tossed him has a “notable incidents” section in his Wikipedia from before he got run out of MLB https://t.co/6dfySh3z87
— Tyler Cady (@Tyler_Cady) June 4, 2023
Baseball would be so much better if the umps wore ear plugs. https://t.co/OL8vhQU9RO
— Chris Wright (@CWrightSDS) June 4, 2023
— HENNETRON (@gidalkaiser) June 4, 2023
This was just horrendous. Unfathomable https://t.co/iXyQhgeIKA
— Scott Strasemeier (@ScottStras) June 4, 2023
Hey, look, they have ump shows in college baseball too. https://t.co/JY8a1QXlnb
— Mike Althouse (@USNA86) June 4, 2023
Is it possible that Cannarella said something so bad that an ejection was warranted? Sure.
But the reaction — or lack thereof — from everyone on the Tennessee team, indicates that Campos could have, and likely should have, turned the other way on this one.
[Photo Credit: ESPN 2]