Minor Leaguer puts the 'ground' in 'groundout'

August 18th, 2022

Let's just say Ernie Clement is not a name earthworms and other dirt-loving creatures will speak fondly of. The play will go down as a "2-unassisted putout" in the scorebook, but his first at-bat groundout was anything but normal in Triple-A Columbus' matchup with Toledo.

Leading off the home second inning for the Clippers, Clement chopped a 1-2 offering into the ground right in front of home plate. Literally, into the ground. The ball took a direct dive into the dirt and didn't move. No bounce, no wiggle ... just a ball stuck in the proverbial mud. A magnetic force placed directly under the path of the ball could not have done a better job.

It took Toledo catcher Dustin Garneau a second to realize what had happened, but he immediately picked up the ball and tagged Clement for an unusual out. For his part, Clement, a 2017 Draft pick who has 264 Major League at-bats to his name, realized the ball was fair and made no attempt to run.

Possessing what appears to be a good sense of humor, the 26-year-old smiled and shook his head as he walked back to the dugout.

Clement followed up a highlight that will live on in the annals of the baseball highlight sphere with with a more traditional groundout in the fourth, chopping a routine grounder to shortstop Zack Short to end the inning.