OMAHA, Neb. — Oregon State appeared to be in business.
With two on and one out in Friday’s College World Series matchup with LSU, Steven Kwan lined a third-inning Alex Lange offering down the left-field line. Kwan’s drive hit off the top of the fence, just below the pole, splitting the yellow line for a likely run-scoring double.
But third base umpire Danny Collins saw things differently.
Collins immediately threw his hands into the air, signaling foul ball. Neither OSU coach Pat Casey nor Collins, the crew chief, asked for the controversial play to be reviewed.
Kwan ended up flying out as the Beavers plated just one third-inning run en route to a 3-1 loss at TD Ameritrade Park. Fourth-seeded LSU (51-18) and No. 1 OSU (56-5) will play again on Saturday for a berth in the CWS championship series.
“I was just rounding second and from my point of view, it looked like it was fair,” said sophomore Cadyn Grenier, who started the play on first. “I thought I saw it hit the yellow that’s painted up on the wall. Apparently the umpire thought otherwise.”
Kwan was caught off guard by how far his liner traveled. The sophomore outfielder said he didn’t get a good look at the ball.
“I actually missed the bag (at first) as I saw the left fielder run back,” Kwan said. “So I went to go touch the bag and I saw the guy call it foul. I saw nothing else after that.”
Michael Gretler, who began the play on second, had his head down and didn’t see the ball carom off the wall.
With OSU occupying the third-base dugout, Casey’s view was also blocked.
“I should have asked for a review,” Casey said. “My understanding from the NCAA is the crew chief should have asked for a review. But I can ask for a review, and I didn't. And I should have. That's on me.
“I don't know how that would have affected things, but it certainly would have put us in a pretty good position, that's for sure.”
The NCAA released a statement after the game that said the play was reviewable.
“Per our replay protocol, either the head coach may come out onto the field and request the crew to get together or the umpire crew may get together on their own if they feel a review is warranted,” the statement said. “In either situation, it is the sole authority of the crew chief to decide if any play is to go to review.
“Nothing happened on this play that triggered a review.”
Had instant replay been enacted, the umpires would’ve used their discretion to place the runners as if the call had been fair. Gretler would’ve undoubtedly been awarded home with Grenier having an argument as well.
Instead, Kwan had to return to the batter’s box.
“I thought it was foul,” Lange said. “But coming back and what I heard in the dugout, it might have been fair. So I'm just glad they called it foul. Obviously that's a pretty big situation.”
The Tigers allowed just one hit the rest of the game.