Monday, March 20, 2023

NCAA Ejection - John Brammer (Tennessee's Tony Vitello)

HP Umpire John Brammer ejected Tennessee Volunteers head coach Tony Vitello (no step balk call; QOCY) in the bottom of the 3rd inning of the TN-Missouri game. With one out and two on (R1, R3), Tennessee pitcher Chase Burns attempted to pick off Missouri baserunner R1 Trevor Austin, ruled a balk. Replays indicate in throwing to first base, Burns failed to step toward the base pursuant to the requirements of NCAA Rule 9-3-c-1, which states, "The pitcher, while touching the pitcher's plate, must step toward the base, preceding or simultaneous with any move toward the base," the call was correct. At the time of the ejection, Missouri was leading, 5-0. Missouri ultimately won the contest, 7-4. 

Pitcher Austin's spin-off move failed to gain requisite distance or direction toward first base, which is a balk pursuant to NCAA 9-3-c-1 (OBR equivalent 6.02(a)(3) & NFHS 6.2.4b). Official Baseball Rules' 6.02(a)(3), for instance, states, "Requires the pitcher, while touching their plate, to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base." If there is any doubt as to potential disengagement on the spin or jump-turn move, see NCAA 9-3-c-5: "The jump-turn move is legal if the pitcher’s free foot steps toward and gains ground to the base that the ball is being thrown. Otherwise, a balk shall be called."

A no-step balk is subject to roughly the same argument provisions as balls/strikes calls in that a manager or coach may be ejected, as HP Umpire Brammer did here after warning the head coach to stop.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Brammer tosses Vitello over balk call; crew works together to manage aftermath (SEC)


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