Georgia pitcher suspected of cheating vs. SEC foe Texas A&M

Social media videos of Georgia pitcher Christian Mracna’s activity in the bullpen and during a dominant performance on the mound in a weekend game at top-ranked Texas A&M has led Aggies coach Jim Schlossnagle to suspect the pitcher was putting a foreign substance on the ball in violation of the rules.

“Certainly appears that way,” Schlossnagle said in a text to The Associated Press on Tuesday. “It’s part of the game … wish we would’ve caught it.”

He declined further comment.

Mracna, a graduate transfer from George Mason in his first season with the Bulldogs, pitched the last two innings of a 5-4 win in College Station, Texas, on Saturday. He allowed a single to the first batter he faced and struck out six in a row to end the game for his first save. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander threw 30 pitches, 23 for strikes.

A 30-second video of Mracna in the bullpen, posted by Barstool Texas A&M, showed Mracna appearing to work on his glove in a corner. He reached for something near or behind a post, but otherwise the view was largely blocked. Another video, taken from the SEC Network telecast, showed Mracna touching the thumb area of his glove with his right fingers between pitches against Texas A&M.

Georgia declined to comment or make Mracna available. The Southeastern Conference declined comment.

According to NCAA rules, players cannot apply a “foreign substance or moisture to the ball or to the pitching hand or fingers, or do anything to deface the ball.” Use of a foreign substance, typically something sticky that improves grip, can create higher spin rates that increase the ball’s movement. A violation results in ejection.

Mracna has made 13 appearances, including 10 starts, and has 57 strikeouts in 36 innings.

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