How Many Foul Balls Make a Strike?

Since the early days of baseball there has never been an advantage to hitting a foul ball other than to avoid a strike. Foul balls are almost always unintentional and are typically made out of desperation after two strikes. 

Still, foul balls are very common and understanding the foul and strike rule is essential for anyone who wants to enjoy this great game. Here’s what you need to know about the two-strikes foul rule.


What Is a Foul Ball?

A foul ball is any ball that the batter hits that falls between first base and home plate or home plate and third base. This is considered foul territory. 

Foul balls can also bounce out of bounds and into foul territory. Foul balls are counted as strikes if they occur within the first two strikes.

What Happens When a Batter Hits a Foul Ball?

When a player hits a foul ball, it is up to the umpire to make the call that it is a foul. They will usually call it by yelling “foul.” 

Foul balls usually occur when a batter swings too early and doesn’t hit the ball in the right direction. It can also occur if the batter swings too late and does a foul tip that sends the ball to the strike zone. 

Most foul balls are the result of timing; some players may continuously foul throughout a game.

How Many Foul Balls Lead To a Strike?

If you are wondering how many fouls make a strike, the answer is two. If a batter has fewer than two strikes (zero or one strikes), the batter’s foul balls count as strikes. 

The foul strike rule means that a player cannot have a foul ball count as their third strike. If the player has two strikes, the foul balls hit will fall under the foul strike rule and not count against them. 

Batter bunts are often foul balls unless they are in fair territory on the playing field. If a batter does choose to bunt and ends up hitting a ball foul, he may be less likely to attempt another bunt while at bat.

Where Is the Strike Zone In Baseball?

The pitcher doesn’t really have an advantage of pitching in a way that makes batters hit a foul ball. When a pitcher has thrown to foul-ball the batter, the result may actually be fewer strikes. 

The strike zone in baseball is between the top of the shoulders and the bend of the knee. This strike zone is the same for any league and the pitcher must throw the ball in this area, while causing the batter to swing and miss three times for it to be a strikeout. 

If the first two fouls are called, then the strikeout can take longer. This can quickly tire out batters, and it can tire out the pitcher too. 

This can lead to the pitcher throwing less accurately and being more likely to walk a player instead of getting the strikeout.

Who Decided On Four Balls and Three Strikes?

At one point in time, every third unfair pitch was called a ball, even if the batter hit it. The catcher could not catch the balls for an out in this situation either. 

Eventually, the ball numbers were dropped and the league called four balls the right amount for walking. Strikes were also set at three and the rules were made more clear. 

When swinging at a ball, it is considered a strike regardless of where the ball was actually thrown. The pitcher does not have to throw the ball into the strike zone in order to force a strike. 

If the batter swings, it can be a strikeout, even if the ball isn’t pitched properly. The umpire will call the strike and abide by these rules set in the league. 

The umpire will also count the strikes and the outs in the game.

Do Pitchers Prefer Foul Balls?

A pitcher wants his pitch to be a strike every time. The batter wants every pitch to be a home run. 

This is the basic plan for baseball, but it doesn’t work out that way. This is because a batter won’t necessarily hit all the pitches every time he is at bat.

Some may be strikes, some may be balls, and some may be fouls. This is what makes baseball such a fun and exciting game. 

Pitchers will always prefer a strike. How many fouls a player gets can actually have a negative effect on the pitcher instead of an advantage. 

The average pitcher throws a lot of balls in a game. If they can get the hitter to strike out quickly, it’s less balls and less work for him. 

The more the batter hits, the more pitches have to be pitched. This can make each play last longer and keep the hitter up to bat longer. 

How Can a Batter Avoid Hitting a Foul Ball?

There are ways batters can play better baseball and be less likely to strike out or hit a foul baseball. By improving their swing and adjusting to the speed of the ball, they are more likely to have a more efficient hit. 

Instead of swinging too early or too late and getting too many strikes or hitting a foul, they can hit it accurately and get a third-base run or a better play. Fouls are alway better than strikes, but they make the batter work harder for a home run or a good play. 

How many fouls a player has can affect his stats. Still, it is better to hit a foul ball rather than get a third strike. 

Most batters see a foul ball as a mistake and work to hit more accurately.

If a Foul Ball Is Caught Is It an Out?

Yes, if the catcher is able to catch a foul ball before it touches the ground, it is considered an out. These rules are the same for all leagues. 

The batter may hit the ball as a pop-up, which would also become a foul if it landed or rolled, but if the catcher gets it before it gets to that point, the rule of baseball says that the batter is out. The baseball is caught before it becomes a foul so it will count as an out in the game. 

Is There a Limit To How Many Foul Balls Can Be Pitched During a Game?

Baseball players can hit an unlimited number of foul balls in a game. Because there is an unlimited number, baseball games can take a long time. 

This rule is not a new one and it helps ensure that batters are given a fair chance to not only hit the ball but improve their swinging action so they are more likely to hit better. While the first two bad hits can be called strikes, the player can continue to bat foul fly balls and not have to worry about them being considered the third strike. 

The hitter still has a chance to whack a fielder and get a run even if his first few swings were not his best.


If you are trying to learn more about the rule of foul balls in baseball and understand how you strike out, the simple answer is that the first two balls count as two strikes, but the third strike cannot be from a foul. 

The third strike must be an actual swing-and-miss for the baseball player to strike out. If you love baseball, understanding this rule can help you become a better player, and you’ll get more enjoyment out of watching games.