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Ask the Ump – Play 12

Play:With two outs, instead of catching a low line drive hit directly at him, the pitcher covers the ball with his glove, so that he traps the ball on the ground. The covering umpire – in this case the Home Plate umpire – gives no signal and does not give an “out” call. All defensive players leave the field, as does the batter-runner, with no play being made on the batter-runner.

Ruling: In this situation, the third out of the inning would be registered when the batter-runner leaves the field of play. Because the line drive was not caught in flight, the defense needed to throw out the batter-runner at 1st base in order to record the third out. The covering umpire was correct in not giving an “out” signal or giving an “out” call, as the ball was still live at the time that the pitcher trapped it on the ground. As soon as the batter-runner left the field of play, he is declared out for having “abandoned” his right to advance to 1st base.

Sources: Major League Baseball Rule 7.08; NFHS 8.4.2(p)

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