Clemson's Baseball Coach Calls Out Umpires Regarding His Ejection

It's clear that Clemson's head coach Erik Bakich is still not thrilled with how the umpires handled the end of the game where the Tigers' season ended.
Jun 9, 2024; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Head Coach Erik Bakich and Clemson senior Alden Mathes (17) in a press conference after the game against Florida in the NCAA baseball Clemson Super Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium
Jun 9, 2024; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Head Coach Erik Bakich and Clemson senior Alden Mathes (17) in a press conference after the game against Florida in the NCAA baseball Clemson Super Regional at Doug Kingsmore Stadium / Ken Ruinard - USA TODAY Sports

The Men's College World Series will begin on Friday in Omaha, Nebraska and for the 14th consecutive season, the Clemson Tigers won't be there.

Despite being a perennial NCAA Tournament team, it's been since 2010 where they won in the Super Regional round and punched their ticket to the final location with a national championship on the line.

It seemed like this could be their year.

They put together another incredible season under their second-year head coach Erik Bakich and came into the tournament as one of the top overall seeds. They made light work of the regional round, putting together a highlight type of play that went viral.

Because the Florida Gators came out of their region after eliminating Oklahoma State and Nebraska, it seemed like Clemson might have drawn a fortunate outcome after Florida completely underachieved during the regular season when they were one game above .500.

Instead, the Tigers had their backs against the wall after Game 1.

Clemson knew they would have to rebound, and tensions were high from both schools with a spot in the College World Series on the line.

That played out almost immediately when there was a skirmish that resulted in Jack Crighton getting ejected for involving himself in the scuffle.

Things took a complete turn for the dramatic in the 13th inning when the Tigers hit a solo homer to right field that gave them a lead and looked like they would be forcing a decisive Game 3. Alden Mathes, who hit the blast, celebrated by spiking his bat, prompting the umpires to huddle up and decide if that was an unsportsmanlike act that should earn him an ejection.

Clemon's coaching staff took exception to this, coming out on the field before they were ejected.

The next frame, their season was over as the Gators won on a walk-off two-run RBI double.

Bakich was one who was tossed and ultimately suspended. He was barred from speaking after the game on Sunday, but was finally able to talk about the incident after the umpires issued their ridiculous statement.

On Tuesday, the head coach went on "The Mickey Plyler Show" of The Roar to share his account of what happened, and he did not hold back.

"... they call me over to the line, and he says that Jack Leggett is ejected ... I say, 'Are we really going to suspend Jack Leggett?' He said yep, we're going to do that, and because you incited the crowd and waved to the crowd when he was out there as well -- you're ejected too, and he tossed me and just walked away. And so, of course, then I lost my stuff and got an additional two games for wanting to get a man-to-man, face-to-face explanation of that, but I couldn't get that," Bakich said.

That statement came after he walked through what happened when the umpires were huddled up to determine if Mathes was going to get tossed.

Bakich said he went on the field to tell the umpires that the bat was thrown towards their dugout, which is permitted in the rulebook. Once Jack Leggett got immediately tossed out of the game, then he said that's when things escalated, prompting him to fire up the crowd who was already making tons of noise that he said made it so nobody could hear anything.

Clemson's head coach didn't stop there in regards to his criticsm of the umpires.

"Usually you do (get to talk to the ump after an ejection). It was just matter-of-factly, cavalierly just, 'and you're tossed too.' Get thrown out and just turn around and walked away. Most umpires, when you get tossed, they'll give you that opportunity, and then one of the umpires will come in and tell you that's enough," Bakich added.

His two-game suspension will carry over into next season where he'll be out for the neutral-site classic in Arlington, Texas. He said he's not planning on appealing because he doesn't think it will get overturned.

Brad Wakai