Imagine that with one out and all bases loaded, the batter hits a fly ball that is caught out by the left outfielder. However, due to negligence, only the runner on second base remembers to tag up. The ball is then thrown to third base, beating the runner from 2nd.

With the batter being caught out, there are then two outs. However, it appears that the throw to third simultaneously doubles off the runner from third base and forces out the runner from second base. Since there can only be three outs per inning, one of the outs would not "count".

My question is: which would be the official third out?

1 Answer 1


Since the outfielder caught the fly for the second out, and the runner on second tagged up properly, he is not forced out on third – he would have to be tagged out on third for him to be out. If he was tagged, he would have been the third out. That out would “come first” relative to your question.

However, if the tag was missed, and the third baseman touched the base with the ball, I believe he would have to “appeal” to the umpire. And assuming the umpire agreed that the third base runner at time-of-pitch did not tag up properly, then the out would be awarded.

  • The question says that the man on second was the only one to tag. If the others tagged and left early an appeal would be correct, but if they simply didn't tag, the runner would be out on a force out.
    – diggers3
    May 17, 2015 at 0:12
  • @Egroegw - Note: - I just thought of this - the third baseman would want to appeal anyway if the third base runner touched home plate BEFORE that third out tag was made – which very well may be the case if he left the base before the catch. Otherwise that run would count because it's a 'time play' as the third out was not a force out. So you'd want to appeal anyway to negate the run.
    – ipso
    May 17, 2015 at 3:47
  • @diggers3: There is no force play after the fly ball is caught for the first out. The runner going from 2nd to 3rd must be tagged (while off base) to be put out. Also, the runner who left 3rd early should be called out after the 3rd baseman caught the ball and touched 3rd base, but that's not called an appeal play (which would come after the play was over and time was called).
    – GreenMatt
    Oct 11, 2019 at 20:01

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