When the NCAA mandated that metal bats perform more like wood bats in college baseball this season, what happened Friday afternoon at the College World Series may not have been what it had in mind.
During the eighth inning of the Florida-Vanderbilt game, Gators sophomore catcher Mike Zunino snapped his bat while fouling off an inside pitch. Yes, that's right — his metal bat broke. Just like a wood one would've. Except there was no splintering, no shards. The barrel of Zunino's bat just snapped clean off the handle.
See the break for yourself:
Vanderbilt senior reliever Mark Lamm probably has bragging rights from now until forever. Metal could not withstand his fastball. (This may also be further testament to the effectiveness of Tommy John surgery, as Lamm underwent the procedure in August 2009.)
Unfortunately, the camera followed Zunino back to the dugout as he got another bat, so the video clip doesn't show if Lamm blew smoke off his index finger after that composite metal barrel went into the stands.
Lamm was a sixth-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in this year's MLB Draft. Might his draft stock have improved if scouting directors and general managers had seen him destroy metal with his 94 mph fastball?
But Zunino can point to the scoreboard. Florida beat Vanderbilt, 6-4, to advance to the College World Series championship. Gators first baseman Preston Tucker drove in the go-ahead run just before Zunino broke his bat.