[Ads-l] "split of a three-game series"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 20 14:49:54 UTC 2015

Sounds odd to me too. Oxford Dictionaries covers the noun:

"(North American) A drawn game or series."

And American Heritage has the verb:

"(Sports) To win half the games of (a series or double-header)."

Here another uneven split (using the verb):

"The Lady Eagles had to sweep a three-game series over the Aggies and
hope for some help, but split the series 2-1 instead."

But far more often, "splitting" a three-game series requires a tie (as
in college baseball or soccer) or some other extenuating

"Wait … they split a three-game series? Are we doing some S.C. public
school math here? How is that possible? The second game of the series
– which was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon at
Greenville’s Fluor Field – was postponed due to inclement weather."

"The two schools actually split the three-game series. After the Sun
Devils won the opening game and Oregon won the second, the third game
ended in a tie. The third game was called during a 2-2 tie in the
sixth inning due to rain."

"The Revs and Fire split a three-game series last year, each side
winning once to go along with one draw."

"The teams split their three-game series a season ago, each winning on
their home ground before the clubs reached a 2-2 draw at Toyota Park
on Sept. 28."

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:06 AM, Dan Goncharoff wrote:
> This was baseball; there were no ties.
> This was the summary sentence in an e-mail from The New York Times
> regarding the Mets' victory over the Cardinals, which had won the first two
> games, in the last game of a three-game series:
> "The Mets' feeble offense continued to struggle for 17 innings, but two
> runs in the 18th gave them a split of a three-game series in St. Louis."
> Split has many meanings in a baseball context (split a series,
> split-finger, split season, statistical splits), but I would never use
> split to refer to a 2-1 result in a three-game series. Looks odd to me.
> Google seems to have only one other use of "split of a three-game series",
> and other variant searches were unsuccessful.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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