I was down in Winona yesterday to watch Augie play Winona State (the NCAA D2 national runners-up last year). The umpiring was so unbelievably poor on both sides of the coin that it was infuriating. Game 1 of the double header yesterday was greatly influenced by the umpire blatantly missing a foul ball and instead calling it a HBP and awarding the guy first base. This scored the tying run when it should have made the count go to 0-2 with 1 out and the bases loaded. The next guy popped up to shallow center (which "would have" ended the ball game assuming the batter gets out and the rest of the game stays the same--which it probably wouldn't have). Instead, they had a tie game with 1 out. A pop up to shallow center makes 2 outs, and then a line drive to left ended the game, giving Winona the win. My biggest complaint about it: The guy wouldn't even ask the other umpire for help. The pitcher for Augie throws in the mid-80s (a submarine-style delivery). The umpire said it hit the kid in the hand. The kid didn't even flinch when it "hit" him, and the ball rolled back towards the mound probably 45 feet. I've NEVER seen a ball roll that far after hitting somebody in the hand (or anywhere else, really), let alone seen a kid get drilled in the hand and not even look at it. It was unbelievably poor, and the umpire's ego wouldn't allow him to ask the base umpire for help. Winona also ran an appeal for leaving early on a sac fly the wrong way and the umpires called the runner out anyways. The runner left early, don't get me wrong. But they didn't do the appeal the proper way.
The second game, in the 10th inning, Augustana came from down 2-0 after 7 to force the game into extra innings. The game-winning double from Augustana went down the right field line and was awfully controversial. I didn't see it land, but the entire WSU contingent was
ing like Whioux fans about Gophers diving that it was a foul ball and that it was foul by 2-3 feet. (Of course, all the Augie players say it was fair by the same margin
Either way, it was 2 great collegiate baseball games that were completely marred by terrible umpiring. The strike zone of the umpire in the second game was so inconsistent it was laughable. In fact, both starting pitchers were literally laughing on the mound about what constituted balls and strikes for him.
How hard is it for the NCAA to find quality umpires to do their games? I've seen better umpires in little league!