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Explaining the new pitch/between innings clock in Baseball

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Fans at Carolina Stadium and other baseball venues in the SEC will see a new clock on the field this season. The SEC will be the only conference to use a visual on-field clock as part of a new NCAA rule regulating the amount of time allowed between pitches and between innings. Carolina's clock will be located in left centerfield.

The goal of the rule is to speed up the pace of games and thus their overall length, which the SEC found success with when they first experimented with the clock in last year's SEC Tournament. The NCAA enacted the rule this past summer. The rule should not have a major effect on game play beyond picking up the pace of games.

Pitchers will have 20 seconds between pitches when there is no one on base. The pitch time limit is not in effect if there are runners on base. The clock will start when the pitcher receives the ball on the mound and stops when the pitcher begins his pitching motion. If the time limit expires at the same time the pitcher begins his windup, there is no penalty. In certain game situations the clock will be paused, for example when the pitcher is returning to the mound after making or backing up a play or another player is returning to his position (e.g. after attempting to field a foul ball).

Pitchers will get one warning if they violate the rule, after which a ball will be awarded for each violation. A pitcher stepping off the rubber does not stop the clock unless the umpire grants the pitcher time. Batters are also subject to the time limit and will be assigned a strike if they are not in the box ready to take the pitch with five seconds or less showing on the clock and time expires. A penalty is not automatic when the batter is not in the box with five seconds or less showing, as long as play continues without a signal or there is no violation. The clock will be paused if the batter is granted time by the umpire with five or more seconds showing on the clock. Unless unusual circumstances warrant, time will not be granted to the batter with less than five seconds remaining. If neither the pitcher nor batter is ready, the pitcher is responsible.

Teams will have 90 seconds after the final out of each half-inning to take the field ready to pitch and have a batter in the box (extended to 108 seconds for televised games). Unusual circumstances (e.g. ceremonies, field maintenance, an injury) excepted, the clock starts with the last out of the inning and stops when the pitcher begins his windup for the first pitch to the first batter of the inning. If the offensive team isn't ready before the time limit, a strike will be called. If the defense is not ready, a ball will be awarded.

Important for fans to note:

- The pitch clock only applies when there is no one on base.

- There are several in-game situations that may result in a paused clock by rule. Carolina's clock operator is a retired former collegiate umpire well-versed in the game and the new rule and its allowances.

- It is the plate umpire's job to administer the visible clock and any penalties. If there is no visible clock available, time is kept by a base umpire.  


Look forward to seeing everyone out at Carolina Stadium this weekend. Friday's Opening Day festivities will be very special. Tickets are still available for all three games vs. Santa Clara this weekend and we are just 45 season tickets away from our goal of 5,000 season tickets set when we opened Carolina Stadium. Click here for ticket information.

Go Gamecocks!

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2 Comments

this is totally ridiculous....one of the greatest things that makes baseball so special is that there is no clock! along with the aluminum bats this move will definitely keep me focused on mlb and Gamecock football//john usc 1974

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