When two of the SEC’s top baseball programs get together, you have to be willing to get outs by any means necessary. Even if that means you have to break of the bag of tricks.
Vanderbilt won its series against Ole Miss over the weekend thanks to a narrow 8-7 victory at Hawkins Field in Nashville on Sunday to claim two of three games in the conference clash.
A major part of that victory for the Commodores? The old hidden-ball trick.
After a 2-run double tied the game at 5-5 in the 5th inning, Commodores third baseman Austin Martin broke out the deceiving play to secure an out by tagging the runner on third base. The key to the play was Vanderbilt’s pitcher staying away from the pitcher’s mound, as by rule the play cannot work if the pitcher approached the rubber without possession of the baseball.
Vanderbilt first baseman Julian Infante pulled pitcher Reid Schaller to the side of the mound for a quick meeting that was meant to serve as a distraction for the Ole Miss runners. Meanwhile, Martin was waiting quietly with the baseball in his glove, and the second that the Ole Miss runner began to creep off the base for a lead, Martin applied the tag and the umpire ruled it an out.
Take a look at how the play transpired here:
Vandy being savvy & pullin’ of the hidden ball trick to keep them in the ball game…
— SpikesUp Baseball (@BenCaple1) April 15, 2018
“It’s a baseball play that a baseball player makes,” Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said after the game. “When I say baseball player, I mean someone looking for outs and looking to kill momentum. In that particular case, it was like they were getting off their big hit and there’s a runner in scoring position. Is there a way we can get an out? We just looked for it, and Austin’s that type of kid.”
Martin, who Corbin says plays practically every position on the field for the Commodores, explained how the play went down here:
Vanderbilt is ranked No. 10 in the latest D1Baseball.com Top 25. The Commodores next will play Evansville on Tuesday before opening a three-game conference set against Missouri on Thursday.