SEC to experiment with double first base during tournament

FILE-A general view of the SEC logo on the field at a SEC Baseball Tournament game. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Baseball diamonds will look a little different for this week’s Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Alabama.

The SEC is using a double first base throughout the conference tournament to lower collisions between the defense and the batter-runner at first base. 

Fans will get their first look at the double first base as tournament play kicks off with four games on Tuesday, with the championship game happening on Sunday.

SEC officials said in a release that the double first base has been used in multiple SEC non-conference games this season.

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What are the rules for using the double first base?

Rules for the double first base per the NCAA are as follows:

Fair vs. foul balls

  • A batted ball hitting or bounding over the white portion of the bag is a fair ball. A batted ball hitting or bounding over the colored (orange or green) bag without first touching or bounding over the white section is foul.

Plays at first base

  • When an initial play is being made on the batter-runner at first base, the defense must use the white section of the double base and the batter-runner must use the colored base except in the case of a dropped third strike.
  • After a dropped third strike, if the fielder is drawn to the side of the colored base, the runner would go the white base and the fielder to the colored base. On a dropped third strike, the fielder and batter-runner may touch either the white or colored base. 
  • If there is a play on the batter-runner and the batter-runner touches only the white portion of the double base and the defense appeals prior to the batter-runner returning to first base, it is treated the same as missing the base. Penalty: Batter-runner is out.

Player base running

  • On extra-base hits or other balls hit to the outfield when there is no chance for a play to be made at the double base, the batter-runner may touch either the white or colored section of the base. Should, however, the batter-runner reach and go beyond first base, they may only return to the white section of the base. 
  • Once the batter-runner reaches first base, they shall then use only the white base.

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.