Pensacola Tournament RewindAnalysis
PENSACOLA, Fla. — Rob Sheppard was not happy. The Seton Hall head coach was animated as he protested an umpire’s safe call on what appeared to be a force out at second. Clinging to a one-run lead against South Alabama in the bottom in the ninth, Sheppard made the most of his conversation as he was ejected.
One of the fun aspects of baseball is what happens to the coach after he’s ejected. Home coaches can go their offices and fire up a video or radio broadcast. I have seen some visiting coaches go straight out of the park and get on the bus. Others have found nooks and crannies where they can still see the game and not be noticed. In a minor league ballpark like in this situation, Sheppard had some options to blend in with his surroundings. I joked he could go into the Blue Wahoos’ team shop, buy a sweatshirt and cap and sit behind home plate and just see how much grief he could give the umpiring crew that had tossed him.
But alas, Sheppard took the high road.
“I went right to the clubhouse,” he explained. “It has tight confines so I didn’t want to get too close where I would get suspended.”
While Sheppard didn’t like that call that got him ejected, he would have loved the next one had he been around to see it. With Jaguar runners on first and second, a tapper down the third base line was caught in fair territory and the defenders’ momentum carried him into foul territory. After first signaling fair, the home plate umpire quickly changed his call to foul as the runner beat the throw at first. Seton Hall reliever Anthony Pacillo picked off pinch-runner Adam Wolfe at second and then escaped the jam with a full count strike out of USA cleanup hitter Wells Davis.
With the biggest threat extinguished, the Pirates (4-6) went on to win 3-2 to grab their first victory over the weekend at Blue Wahoos Stadium in Pensacola.
Don’t let the Pirates’ record fool you. They could be a factor in the Big East this season, especially if they get a start like Zach Prendergast (2-0) gave them Sunday. The righty took a four-hit shutout into the eighth.
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