COLLEGE WORLD SERIES: Getting beaned has fast become big hit
OMAHA, Neb. - Rice coach Wayne Graham said Wednesday that the record number of players getting hit by pitches at this year's College World Series is more than a coincidence.
''It basically started on the West Coast,'' he said. ''In my case, it's not a coach teaching it. I've never taught anybody to get hit with a baseball, but I don't know whether some programs do or not.''
Five more batters were hit in Wednesday's game between North Carolina and Rice, bringing the CWS-record total to 42 hit batsmen in 11 games before UC Irvine and Oregon State played Wednesday night.
There were five hit batsmen with the bases loaded in the CWS before the Irvine-OSU game and 10 players who scored after being hit. Cal State-Fullerton tied a CWS record on Monday when it hit five batters in a game against UC Irvine.
Rice's Ryan Berry hit Carolina's Reid Fronk to open the game, and Fronk scored in the inning. It was the third time this series that the first batter in a game was hit by a pitch.
Rice's Joe Savery said after the game that the record-setting numbers are ''absolutely'' more than a coincidence.
''Either say that you don't have to get out of the way and just let it go as it's going, or establish the fact that you are supposed to try to get out of the way, and call it the way it should be,'' Savery said.
NCAA officials have noticed the number of hit batters increasing. Earlier this week, a top umpiring official issued a statement saying that the Division I baseball committee would review individual hit batsmen rulings by umpires as part of a general review of the CWS.
The statement came after a controversial call in Monday night's Cal State-Fullerton-UC Irvine game resulted in Irvine's Taylor Holiday on first and Fullerton coach George Horton ejected from the game after arguing that Holiday tried to get hit by the pitch. Holiday was later thrown out at the plate but Irvine won the game on the next play.
Holiday - who was hit three times in the game - said afterward he knew the pitcher was throwing inside and he wanted to give his team a spark.
North Carolina 6, Rice 1
Oregon State 7, UC Irvine 1
Rice vs. North Carolina,
5 p.m. MDT, ESPN2