Pete Costello was the behind-the-plate umpire when the Razorbacks and Gamecocks met in the rubber match to determine which team would go to the Finals of the 2012 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. It wasn’t simply Razorbacks’ Fans impressions that calls favored South Carolina. Without having the video to edit with ESPN’s strike zone boxes, the following chart is the next best thing. All pitches were logged which resulted in something other than the ball being hit into fair territory or being hit with a pitch and charted below.
The long story made short is that when Umpire Perry Costello’s discretion to make a call was involved, the calls were overwhelmingly in South Carolina’s favor. Read “overwhelmingly” to mean “innings’ worth of key calls.”
Over the course of the game Arkansas batters were “struck out looking” a total of 6 times to South Carolina’s 1 time, but the number of players who struck out swinging were almost identical. The Razorbacks struck out swinging 4 times to the Gamecocks’ 3.
The wide discrepancy doesn’t end on outs called where the batter is looking. The number of called walks was hugely in favor of the Gamecocks. Razorback pitchers were deemed to have walked 8 batters while South Carolina pitchers walked only 2.
Between the two categories just dealing with Umpire Pete Costello’s calls, South Carolina held an 11 batter advantage.
Pitching Per At-Bat
|Arkansas||Opp. Pitcher||Inning||Ball||Strike Looking||Strike Swinging||Strike Foul||Foul||SO Looking||SO Swinging||Walk|
|South Carolina - Bottom of 1st||Opp. Pitcher||Inning||Ball||Strike Looking||Strike Swinging||Strike Foul||Foul||SO Looking||SO Swinging||Walk|
Who’s on first? It wasn’t the Hogs, was it, Mr. Costello?
It would be a joke, if it was funny in the least. Arkansas had problems with Pete Costello before. Scout.com, “Arizona State 7, Arkansas 6” June 13, 2010.
Pencil it in with the football team’s losses to Florida in 2009 where an entire SEC officiating crew was suspended and the 2010 Auburn game which resulted in Official Disaster. Florida was then the defending National Champions, graced with Tim Tebow and on a collision course to meet Alabama in a titan SEC Championship matchup. It was not the first run-in that Arkansas had with official Marc Curles either. Undefeated and eventual BCS Champion Auburn was behind in the fourth quarter with Tyler Wilson setting an off-the-bench record for the Hogs.
On Friday night, the Diamond Hogs faced a returning, and possibly future, SEC National Champion. When lousy officiating happens enough in these situations, at some point it ceases to be conjecture.
South Carolina is a great team without question, but given an even playing field this game may or may not have had the same result, but we’ll never know.
Were the Hogs once again victims of incompetence or bias? — Sharp