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Louisiana Tech baseball scored more runs than Ole Miss on Wednesday night and still lost. It has left the Bulldogs infuriated by the controversial ruling.
The reigning national champion Rebels hosted the Conference USA opponents for a two-game, mid-week series in Oxford on Tuesday and Wednesday. They lost the first game 6-5, and were losing in game two when it came to a halt.
Louisiana Tech scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 5-4 lead. It was still batting with two outs when the first lightning strike happened with 10 miles of Swayze Field at 5:34 p.m.
Each lightning strike warrants a 30-minute delay, by rule, and continued until 7:21 p.m. The game was eventually cleared for a restart at 7:45 p.m., but lightning struck at 7:39 p.m. and ruined those plans.
Not long thereafter, rain intensified into a significant thunderstorm that lasted all night in the region.
As a result, the game was called in the middle of the seventh inning with the Bulldogs leading by one run. It would not continue.
However, because both teams did not get to bat in the final inning before the delay, by rule, the game reverts back to the previous completed full inning. In this case, that was the sixth.
Ole Miss led 4-3 after the sixth inning. Nothing beyond that sixth out in the sixth is counted toward the official box score.
Ole Miss baseball beat Louisiana Tech 4-3 in six innings.
The Diamond Dogs were furious, and understandably so. Head coach Lane Burroughs sounded off on the way things ended.
He spoke to how two wins over a top-five team would boost his program’s resume and how he thinks the way things ended is unfortunate.
Burroughs also expressed frustration with the home side and how they handled the weather. He was specifically upset with the decision not to tarp the field. Burroughs and Louisiana Tech offered to return to Swayze Field at a later date and finish the final three innings.
Although Burroughs’ anger is understandable, the game was called because of lightning— not rain. The tarp, or lack thereof, did not factor into the equation.
Unfortunately it happens in baseball. Weather comes into play more so than other sports, and here in the South you do the best you can. We moved the game up, got the kids out of school earlier. We thought we’d have a big enough window, but unfortunately lightning got us. We didn’t get delayed because of rain.— Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco
Additionally, why would Ole Miss accept a return visit instead of just taking a win? Of course the Rebels declined to play the final 2.1 innings at a later date.