Extra offense

Changes to ball should produce more runs

There will be some changes this year in college baseball, starting with the ball itself.

In an attempt to boost offense in Division I baseball, the NCAA voted unanimously to switch from the raised-seam baseball to the flat-seam ball used in the
minor leagues.

According to the NCAA, this switch was a result of several studies showing that the flat-seamed ball travels on average 20 feet further than the raised-seam ball. By lowering the seam height from .048 inches to .031 inches, the ball has a tighter spin, which results in the ball traveling faster and farther.

“The ball definitely gets on you a lot faster and jumps off the bat more,” junior outfielder Austin Bream said. “It seems like it’s going farther than the old ball, and you need to make sure you’re ready to react faster.”

The flat-seamed ball has also resulted in changes on the pitching mound. Breaking pitches like curveballs and sliders may be a little harder to throw, but the spin and speed of the ball has increased.

“Overall it feels better,” senior pitcher Ashton Perritt said. “I feel like it comes out of my hand better with all of my pitches.”

Some summer leagues across the country used the new ball in preparation for the upcoming change. The Cape Cod League, in which Perritt played, was one
of them.

“I didn’t like it at first, but after a summer of playing with it, I’m glad there was a change,” Perritt said.

To help the Liberty baseball team in the transition to the new balls, coaches have been stressing that the new balls be used extensively this offseason.

“To help the players get used to the baseballs, we have ordered several dozens of the new baseballs to allow the pitchers and hitters to practice with them this fall,” Assistant Coach Jason Murray said. “I can feel a difference in the ball just throwing batting practice to the guys.”

In 2011, the NCAA changed the bat used in college baseball to be more similar to the wood bats used in the MLB. The change resulted in bats having to be the safer Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution-certified rather than Bat Exit Speed Ratio (BESR)-certified.

In 2010 at the College World Series, there were 32 home runs hit. In the past four tournaments, there have only been 25 home runs hit total. The move to the new ball should promote offensive production similar to the days of BESR-certified bats without any of the safety concerns.

BRITT is a sports reporter

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