USA Baseball Press Release:
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Another strong effort on the mound and a pair of LSU Tigers at the plate led the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team to a 3-1 victory in game three of its series against Japan in front of a sell-out crowd of 4,211 at historic Grayson Stadium on Friday night.
The victory gives the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series. The red, white, and blue will go for its 24th series win on Saturday when the two squads square off at 5:05 p.m. CT at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. The series finale is set for 4 p.m. CT at Luther Williams Field in Macon, Ga., on Sunday.
On the mound, three pitchers combined to limit Japan to just four hits and collect 14 punchouts. Starter Mason Feole (UConn) went four scoreless frames and fanned five before Jake Agnos (ECU) took over and fired 3.1 innings with just one run allowed and six strikeouts.
Max Meyer (Minnesota) went the final 1.2 to pick up his team-leading fourth save of the summer, striking out three of his own in the process.
At the plate, Zach Watson (LSU) set the tone from the leadoff position, going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored while his fellow Tiger teammate Daniel Cabrera (LSU) was 2-for-3 with a run and a walk out of the cleanup spot.
Adley Rutschman (Oregon State) and Spencer Torkelson (Arizona State) also had singles in Friday’s contest as Team USA picked up a series-high seven hits, including one in every inning except the seventh. Six of those hits also came to leadoff a frame.
The U.S. took advantage of several uncharacteristic unforced errors by Japan to score its first two runs on Friday.
Cabrera led off the third with a base hit to right-center before moving up to second when Andrew Vaughn (California) was hit by a pitch. Just a few pitches later, both runners were set in motion and the Japan catcher’s throw sailed into left to allow Cabrera to cross the plate with the game’s first run.
Just one frame later, Watson reached on a one-out single through the right side. Japan pitcher Hiromi Ito tried to pick him off but his throw bounced past the first baseman and down the right-field line. Running aggressively, Watson raced around second forcing Japan to try to throw him out at third, but that throw also got away and Watson scored easily to put the U.S. up 2-0.
Japan got one of the runs back in the fifth but that would be as close as it would get as Agnos and Meyer yielded just two baserunners over the game’s final three innings.
Team USA tacked on an insurance run in the eighth to account for the 3-1 final score.
Once again it was Watson getting the ball rolling with an infield single. A sac bunt by Dominic Fletcher (Arkansas) and a groundout by Rutschman advanced him to third before a wild pitch brought him the final 90 feet.
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