Florida defeated LSU to take home its first College World Series title with a 4-3 win yesterday and a 6-1 win tonight in the best-of-three series. The Gators jumped out to an early 2-0 lead off of a pair of unearned runs, and the score stayed that way until LSU began mounting their comeback in the seventh inning—scoring one run and then, it briefly seemed, another. But that second and crucial tying run wasn’t recorded due to interference elsewhere on the diamond, and LSU went on to lose.
The call in question happened with runners on first and third with no outs. Catcher Michael Papierski then hit what seemed like a pretty routine double play ball to second—which should have been enough to let the runner on third, Josh Smith, score. He crossed the plate with incident, but the runner on first, Jake Slaughter, wasn’t so successful in his trip to second. After colliding with shortstop Dalton Guthrie, who was covering the bag, he was called for interference. The NCAA rules state that interference occurs when the runner “slides or runs out of the base line in the direction of the fielder and alters the play of a fielder,” which Slaughter appears to be guilty of here. (It’s especially clear in this close-up.)
Per the rules, when a runner is called out for interference, all other runners must return to the base they held before the play. So the run was never recorded, and Smith returned to third. The Gators carried their 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, where they gave themselves a comfortable cushion before going on to win, 6-1.