Not only might LSU senior Raph Rhymes have the greatest full name in college baseball — he was born Raphael Ray Rhymes IV — but he's a good ballplayer and quite a tumbler.
Against dreaded rivals Ole Miss on Thursday, he got to show off his myriad skills during a nationally televised game on ESPNU. Thanks in part to an unsuccessful dive by Ole Miss outfielder Auston Bousfield (another great name), Rhymes scooted around the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. It wasn't a clean scoot, though, because catcher Stuart Turner — who was trying to field a relay throw simultaneously — flipped him head-over-heels, with Rhymes landing on his left side (his hip appeared to absorb most of the impact) a few feet in front of home plate. The throw got away and Rhymes got to his feet quickly but it didn't matter, because the umpire awarded him home due to Turner obstructing the plate.
The sequence took about 18 seconds, for you Tater Trot Trackers.
It was a heck of a way to earn four bases for Rhymes, who comes into Friday batting .351/.419/.473 with four homers after he led the country in hitting in 2012. Rhymes, 23, has been drafted twice by major league teams, most recently by the Yankees in the 30th round a year ago. On Twitter, Rhymes did not preclude the possibility of doing more gymnastics in the future:
Great win tonight..thanks for all the congrats! Need to work on my landing though if I'm going to do any more flips #GeauxTigers
— Raph Rhymes (@RaphRhymes4) May 17, 2013
And a good sense of humor. Well done, Rhymes (who, by the way, does not appear to be related to recent and possibly future major leaguer Will Rhymes).
Considering where the relay throw led the catcher, the collision seemed inevitable and not malicious. As the announcers noted, some in the home crowd didn't appreciate Turner flipping their player like that, but he appeared to be acting in self-defense.
Big BLS H/N: The Big Lead