The Ole Ball Game

If a runner is tagged late after sliding into 2nd and the previous runner has not been put out at third and is in a run down between bases is the runner who made it to 2nd safe or out?

by donald
(San diego)

Donald asked: With runners on 2nd and 3rd batter bunts toward 1st.

1st baseman fields ball cleanly and runner from third stops and heads back to third.

Runner from 2nd is still headed for 3rd.

Catcher fakes a throw to 3rd but see's batter has rounded 1st and is almost to 2nd.

Catcher makes throw to 2nd and 2nd baseman tags runner after he has reached 2nd.

He see's runner from 3rd head toward home and throws to catcher which stops runner from 3rd.

Original runner from 2nd is standing on third and as catcher throws to 3rd baseman to stop original runner from returning, 3B tags runner from 2nd who is standing on 3rd, then quickly throws to catcher as original runner is headed home again.

The next fake throw from catcher sends runner headed back to 3rd but he stumbles and is tagged. How many outs? None to begin with.

Rick answered: Donald, thank you for your question.

For sure, there is a situation that got exciting in real time.

Rule 5.06 running the Bases

a) Occupying the Base.

(1) A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base.

(2)(a) Two runners may not occupy a base, but if, while the ball is alive, two runners are touching a base, the following runner shall be out when tagged and the preceding runner is entitled to the base.

As your situation unfolds, the batter bunts the ball in fair territory; but neither base runner is forced to leave their base.

Once a runner vacates a base they had, and weren't forced from that base, they do so at their own risk.

The batter runner, when he saw second base open, can attempt to reach that base, which he did. Tag was late, he is safe.

The runner who started the play on second base, legally became the occupant of third base, because the runner on third base, left voluntarily.

For the runner from second, to be tagged out at third base, both runners would have to be on the base at the same time, which causes the following runner to be out.

Once the original runner from third fell down and was tagged out, there is one out after all the dust clears, runners on second and third.

Sounds like a wild one.

Yours in baseball,


Comments for If a runner is tagged late after sliding into 2nd and the previous runner has not been put out at third and is in a run down between bases is the runner who made it to 2nd safe or out?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Dec 21, 2015

by: Rick, theoleballgame

In this situation, neither runner was forced to leave their base, they left it voluntarily.

That makes the base ahead of them open for them to go to.

Had the runner from third made it back to third base, where the runner from second was now located, the defense could have tagged him out.

Since he fell down, they were able to tag him earlier.

All based around that they gave up their base voluntarily.

Dec 21, 2015
additional question
by: Anonymous

Doesn't the runner have to _legally acquire the base and it still belongs to the previous runner until he is out?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask The Baseball Coach.

Spalding, Old Time Bat Display

Louisville Sluggers. 1920's

Copyright© All Rights Reserved.
Copyright© All Rights Reserved.