(Game Story Courtesy of College National Team)
MATSUYAMA, Japan – A seven-run sixth inning broke open a tight contest as the USA Baseball Collegiate Team recorded an 11-0 win over the Shikoku Area College All-Stars. The contest marks Team USA’s final warm-up before opening the 39th edition of the USA vs. Japan series Saturday.
“I think we got in early enough yesterday to where we had enough rest today,” said manager Jim Schlossnagle (TCU). “I was pleased with the way we played. Our goal today was to just knock the rust off of the travel, get back on the field again, get used to the ballpark and get used to the dirt infield. Basically just get used to the conditions and get ready to play tomorrow.”
Oregon’s Tommy Thorpe (1-0) turned in four shutout innings in his first start of the summer. The left-hander allowed three hits, walked one and struck out six. Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton) made his summer debut on the mound and struck out the side around a one-out walk. Preston Morrison (TCU) recorded two strikeouts and pitched around a two-out error in the sixth, while UCLA’s David Berg fanned two of the three batters he faced in the seventh.
Offensively, Alex Bregman (LSU) and Sam Travis (Indiana) keyed a 15-hit barrage for Team USA. Both had a pair of RBIs as did Austin Cousino (Kentucky) and Skye Bolt (North Carolina). Nine team members tallied a hit in the game, while six drove in a run.
Trea Turner (NC State) got things rolling with a lead-off walk in the bottom of the first. After a single from Bregman, Michael Conforto (Oregon State) lined a base hit into center field. The relay throw back to the infield skipped away, allowing Turner to score with the game’s first run. Conforto moved to third on a fly ball off the bat of Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) and scored on a Travis base hit to push the lead to two.
Shikoku had a golden opportunity to cut the lead in half in the second inning after Takuya Sakaguchi reached on a lead-off error. He was standing on third with two outs and Thorpe got a ground ball to end the inning without a run scoring.
Thorpe had to work out of another jam in the third after a walk and a double had the tying runs in scoring position with only one out. A head’s up play by Chapman cut down a run trying to score on a grounder to third and Thorpe got a strikeout to end the inning, preserving the 2-0 lead.
Cousino was hit on the foot to lead off the fourth. After a passed ball, he moved to third on a Turner ground out and scored easily on Bregman’s third hit of the day to push the lead to 3-0.
A one-out walk to Brad Zimmer (San Francisco) in the fifth turned into another run for the Collegiate National Team. Grayson Greiner (South Carolina) ripped a double to left field and Zimmer raced home from first to make it a 4-0 contest.
In the sixth, the first seven batters reached base and all seven came around to score as Team USA opened up an 11-0 lead. Travis drove in the first run of the game with a bases-loaded single to left. C.J. Hinojosa (Texas) followed with a walk to make it a 6-0 ballgame. Bolt lined a two-run double into right and scored on a two-run triple off the bat of Cousino. Bregman capped the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly to right.
Team USA improved to 11-0 with the victory. The 39th edition of the USA-Japan Collegiate Baseball Championship gets underway Saturday at Botchan Stadium in Matsuyama, Japan. Florida State’s Luke Weaver will get the call in game one. First pitch is slated for 1 a.m. (ET)/2 p.m. (JST).
About USA Baseball
USA Baseball is the national governing body for the sport of baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee and the International Baseball Federation. The organization selects and trains the World Baseball Classic, World Cup and Pan Am teams (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team; the USA Baseball 18U, 15U and 12U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women’s National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. USA Baseball also presents the Golden Spikes Award annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. For more information, please visit USABaseball.com.