…before his head explodes.
A remarkable pitching duel Wednesday afternoon between Round Rock’s Jason Hirsh (8 IP, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 7 K’s, 1 walk) and Oklahoma’s John Rheinecker (7 IP, 0 earned runs, 5 hits, 6 K’s, 1 walk) was marked by a play reminiscent of the A.J. Pierznyski / Josh Paul play during Game 3 of last year’s ALCS.
With two outs in the home half of the 6th inning and Jesse Garcia on third, the (unidentified) home plate umpire ruled that Round Rock’s Luke Scott went around on a pitch in the dirt. After briefly arguing the call, Scott ran to first, figuring the Redhawks’ Jamie Burke hadn’t controlled the ball. Round Rock manager Jackie Moore argued with the umpiring crew that Scott had reached first safely, though it seemed as though the entire Oklahoma team was in the visiting dugout by the time he’d left the batters’ box.
After a lengthy delay, Scott was awarded first…and Redhawks skipper Tim Ireland went ballistic. Though he was tossed within seconds of screaming in the home plate umpire’s face, Ireland was only just getting started. The former Frisco Rough Riders manager had to be restrained by Burke, then proceeded to cover home plate with dirt, and finally attempted to rub out the left field foul line with his shoes.
All in all, between the swinging third strike to Scott-that-wasn’t and Royce Huffman’s ensuing at bat, about 35 minutes elapsed. I’d like to tell you that the crowd was enraged, but the vast majority of them were Dell Computer employees who were attending a company outing of some sort. The entire afternoon had the vibe of a slightly less multi-cultural Jimmy Buffett concert — Ireland could’ve been sucking his own cock on the mound (and I’m not sure he didn’t consider it), and no one would’ve noticed. That said, it was still quite a performance by Ireland, certainly up to Lou Piniella standards on the wig-out meter.
What had previously been a fast moving game finally ended when Huffman hit a solo HR in the bottom of the 9th off Derek Lee, giving Round Rock the 1-0 win.