The NCAA really does have the best intentions when it comes to player safety, but this new rule in college baseball has a classic NCAA flaw. And just like every other new rule the NCAA implements, it completely blew up in their face.
The new rule leaves it up to the umpire to decide whether or not a player leaned into a pitch that hit them. While the rule is meant to discourage players from “taking on for the team”, the critical flaw is that players who are hit in the helmet can still be called for a strike. That is exactly what happens to this Louisville batter. The ball hits his head then hit his bat resulting in a foul tip strike.
I don’t care if you lean into the pitch, if you are willing to take a 90 MPH fastball to the head just to get on base, you should be allowed to take whatever base you want. Risking a concussion or a Giancarlo Stanton style injury deserves at least a runner on first. Putting it all on the line for your team is an understatement at that point.
I understand that players should not be rewarded for leaning into pitches, so if the rule is going to stay, players should not be able to strike out by getting hit in the helmet. If the catcher had caught the ball after the foul tip on two strikes, he would have been out on the at bat instead of on first base like every other league.
Just another case of the NCAA passing the buck and making bad calls anyone else’s fault but their’s.