WATCH: Umpire Pushes East Carolina Baseball Player Out of Batter’s Box After Hitting Home Run

by Bryan Fyalkowski
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East Carolina led Coastal Carolina by a score of 10-2 in a winner-take-all NCAA Regional baseball game when center fielder Bryson Worrell came to bat with two runners on in the seventh inning. Worrell took a 3-0 pitch deep over the outfield wall for a three-run home run that put the game out of reach.

A shot from the dugout by the Pirates’ videographer shows the lefty connect and the crowd erupts. Worrell stood there admiring his dinger for a second, then the home plate umpire jumps from his crouch and enters the picture. The umpire – Perry Costello – puts his hand on the lower back of Worrell and physically pushes him toward first base.

“Apparently some people don’t love fun,” the tweet from @ECUBaseball read. The video has 2.2 million views on Twitter in 24 hours.

Ump Crosses the Line

Heaven forbid a baseball player – who just launched a huge dinger in an NCAA Regional – stops to soak up the moment for an extra half a second. Good on Worrell for just ignoring the physical altercation and rounding the bases without responding. You know that if he stood up to Costello there would have been a whole ordeal, probably resulting in Worrell or an East Carolina coach getting thrown out of the game.

Umpires exist to enforce the rules of baseball that exist, not the “unwritten rules,” like a hitter not rounding the bases fast enough. I am not sure in what world Costello imagined putting his hands on a player would be OK. Well, I guess in this world, where umpires face zero repercussions for consistently making bad calls and mishandling confrontations that take place on the field.

After the game, East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin quote-tweeted the video. He made a comment seeming to hint that the umpire did not act the same way when a CCU player hit a home run earlier in the game.

Regardless of Costello’s behavior, the Pirates defeated the Chanticleers by a score of 13-4 and advanced to Super Regionals. ECU will host Texas in Greenville, North Carolina, in the three-game series starting this Friday, June 10. Worrell leads the team with 18 home runs, 55 runs scored and 57 runs batted in.

Another “Ump Show”

To lead off a winner-take-all game between Maryland and UConn on Monday, Terrapins catcher Luke Shliger drove a solo home run to right-center field. Eerily similar to Costello pushing Worrell in the other instance, home plate umpire Jeff Head made an attempt to chase Shliger to first base after he made contact.

Head did not physically touch Shliger because he was already on his way to first base, but you can see him trying to yell something at the player while the home crowd celebrates.

Later in the game, Head made a horrendous call to halt a Maryland rally in the eighth inning. Trailing by a score of 10-8 with a runner on third base and one out, center fielder Chris Alleyne ran to first base in an attempt to beat out an infield grounder. He ran within the baseline and directly to first base. As the throw came in, Alleyne was safe by a mile and then collided with Huskies first baseman Ben Huber, who was standing on the bag.

Wrong Call Wrecks Result

Head came 90 feet down the line to call Alleyne out for interference and sent the runner – who would have scored on the play – back to third base. It was an egregious call that occurred in such a pivotal moment that it may have changed the course of the game.

The Terrapins should have been trailing 10-9 with one out and a runner on first base. Instead, they trailed 10-8 and did not score that ninth run. Maryland did end up allowing another run and lost the game 11-8, as UConn advanced to Super Regionals to face Stanford.

Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn took the high road in the post-game press conference. Good for him, but I am not going to: Maybe if Head worried less about enforcing the “unwritten rules,” he would be better at interpreting the actual rules.

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