Air Force will be without first baseman Seth Kline for at least a few weeks, as he suffered a shattered cheekbone and broken jaw in a collision the Falcons have asked the league to review.
Last Saturday, San Diego State outfielder Greg Allen laid down a bunt down the third base line, and in the play at first base Allen and Kline collided and the throw hit Kline in the face, causing the injuries. The Falcons submitted a video of the collision to the Mountain West offices for review, Kazlausky said. A Mountain West spokesman confirmed the league is reviewing the matter submitted by Air Force. The Falcons are unsure if Allen did enough to avoid the collision.
Air Force baseball coach Mike Kazlausky said he hopes Kline can return for Air Force’s series against UNLV that begins April 20, but with the extent of the injuries that can’t be a certainty. Kline can’t do any activities for a few days as the swelling goes down.
Kazlausky said while it appears Allen might have tried to avoid Kline, Air Force wants the league to review what happened. Allen was called out on the play. San Diego State coach Tony Gwynn said Allen was going for the outside corner of first base, the throw drew Kline into the baseline, and the contact was accidental.
“Greg Allen isn’t that type of kid,” Gwynn said. “It was unintentional contact.”
Kazlausky, who did not accuse Allen of initiating the contact while speaking about the play, said he wasn’t making a judgment on whether the collision could have been avoided.
“I don’t know,” Kazlausky said. “We’ll let the conference rule on that.”
Kazlausky said Gwynn and Allen apologized after the game, and he said Allen told him he felt awful about Kline’s injuries. Kazlausky said it is difficult to tell on the video exactly what happened, and he said he never called on the league to take any disciplinary action against Allen, only that he wanted the league to review what happened.
“If they deem it was an issue, they’ll take action on it,” Kazlausky said. “I’ll wait for the league to decide. If nothing happens, nothing happens.”
Gwynn said although it was unfortunate Kline got injured, he didn’t think Allen would or should be suspended because it wasn’t intentional, and that the contact happened because the throw drew Kline into the baseline.
“He didn’t try to knock Seth over or run into him,” Gwynn said. “You hate to see that, but I don’t think there was malicious intent.”
Kazlausky didn’t come off as angry as he talked about what happened, just disappointed that he has lost Kline, one of the Falcons’ best hitters, for a while. Kline is hitting .350 with 11 RBI in 11 games.
“It just is unfortunate with the severity of the injury,” Kazlausky said.