Explaining "the play"
During the Auburn/Georgia winner's bracket game yesterday, Auburn entered the top of the seventh inning down by a score of 3-1. Victoria Draper led off the inning with a single, and Tiffany Howard followed with a chopper that wound up, thanks to an error, with runners on the corners. Kasey Cooper brought in Draper and Howard moved to third. An Emily Carosone RBI single tied the game at three-all and that's when things got interesting.
Jade Rhodes stepped to the plate with Cooper at third base, Carosone at first with the chance to tie the ballgame. Rhodes hit a ground ball to Alex Hugo at second base. Hugo reached out to tag Carosone, who jumped away from the tag and slid into second, just behind a quick throw from Hugo, and was called out. Cooper raced home to give the Tigers the lead.
Then things got REALLY interesting... In the adrenaline-fueled excitement, Rhodes apparently jumped around behind the first base bag, trying to continue to pump up her team. First base coach Scott Woodard grabbed Rhodes' arm to get her back to first base and ready for the next batter.
Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer came out to argue, noting the contact between coach and player was illegal. The umpires, after conferencing, called Rhodes out to end the inning.
The run remained on the board, and would ultimately be the winning run despite a brief UGA rally in the bottom of the frame. So what was the call?
After the respective teams' press conference and a ruling from the NCAA, here's what happened.
Carosone, moving from first to second, was called out for leaving the basepath. Cooper, moving from third, was awarded possession of home plate, scored, and that play ended. Separately, Rhodes' contact with Woodard, the first base coach, was illegal by virtue of rule 12.8.3 and she was then called out, with the credit for the put out given to the first baseman, unassisted.