From DH to pitcher and back

Sean Abate had an interesting day today. So interesting it required a review of the NCAA baseball rule book.

Abate started today's game against Villanova as the designated hitter batting seventh. With the Quakers down 5-1 in the third, manager John Cole sent Abate in to pitch with a man on first and no outs. He retired the next three Nova hitters in order, and pitched a scoreless fourth.

As the pitcher, Abate proceeded to hit in the bottom of the fourth and was then replaced on the mound by Steven Schwartz. No big deal, right?

Well, out came Abate to bat in the bottom of the sixth -- as DH.

Major League rules (upon which the NCAA game is based) stipulate a DH can replace any other player including the pitcher during a game, BUT doing so waives the DH rule for the game -- meaning each subsequent pitcher must hit for themselves. I assumed that after Schwartz came in to pitch, Abate's day was done by rule and Penn would no longer have a DH.

It turns out the NCAA rules have a provision which allows a DH to pitch and still be DH. Here's NCAA Rule 7-3:

"The DH may go in to pitch, then subsequently be relieved as the pitcher and still remain the DH."

To me, this seems a bit silly to deviate from the Major League rule. There are other situations where the DH rule is nullified, such as when he replaces a defensive player, so why not here as well?

For the record, Abate weht 0-4 with a strikeout as DH, and pitched 2 innings, no runs and no hits and two walks. Pick up today's paper for all the details of Villanova's 10-7 win.


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