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Arkansas Pine Bluff coach Michael Bumpers wants the world to know the pitcher who struck out his entire team was brilliant, and the umpire calling the famous game was off the plate.

There is another side to the now most famous softball game in recent memory: North Texas pitcher Hope Trautwein’s perfect game when she struck out all 21 batters she faced on April 11.

The other side is the small school from the SWAC that has five scholarships to field a Division I softball team, and has won six of its last 74 games.

“She pitched a great game and she’s the fastest pitcher I’ve seen here in my three years, but it got to the point in the game where the umpire was getting involved as opposed to letting the players play,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

“Did she honestly strikeout 21 batters? That I don’t know.”

Full disclosure here. When I reached out to Bumpers on Wednesday the intention was to discuss the disparity that exists between the athletic departments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and much of the rest of NCAA Division I. However, Bumpers then said, “About that perfect game.”

The box score says 75 people attended the game, and Bumpers said the student assistant who normally films the team’s games was unable to attend so he has no recorded version to watch it again.

“I am not taking anything away from [Trautwein] at all because she beat us. She had great movement,” he said. “I had a chance to speak with [Trautwein] after the game and she knew she was getting some calls, but we have to put the ball in play. That’s on us.

“We had some solid at bats. It wasn’t like we were just seeing three pitches. We have to adjust better. But it’s hard when you make an adjustment, and then the next inning [the strike zone] is different.”

North Texas players and coach Rodney DeLong passed on addressing Bumpers’ comments.

The first nine batters Trautwein faced struck out swinging. In each of the remaining four innings, a Pine Bluff batter struck out looking once.

Trautwein never went to three balls on a batter, and she had three two-ball counts.

What Bumpers is suggesting is that the home plate umpire’s strike zone was affected by the “moment.”

If you are looking for a baseball comparison, the most famous example of an umpire influenced by the moment was Game 5 of the 1997 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins.

In that game, Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez recorded a record 15 strikeouts in a 2-1 win over Greg Maddux and the Braves.

Home plate umpire Eric Gregg’s strikezone was famously on an expansion plan as the night wore on. The final pitch of the game, a called third strike, never crossed home plate.

At least that was a Marlins’ home game. Arkansas Pine Bluff was at home against UNT.

“That’s the craziest thing about it, we were at home,” Bumpers said. “I seldom talk balls and strikes. If you call it one way, and then another way, I have a hard time with that. If you are consistent, I have zero issues. I am not bashing this umpire because they’ve a job to do, but I think he just got caught up in the middle of it.”

North Texas won 3-0, two of the runs came on a Pine Bluff error.

Bumpers said at no point did he advise any of his players to attempt a bunt just to get on base, a tactic that is normally criticized when a pitcher is en route to a no-hitter or perfect game.

“I wanted them to swing,” he said.

They swung. They missed.

Bumpers believes Trautwein was at her best on Sunday, and the ump was not.

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