RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL— Cody Satterwhite (Ole Miss) saved both ends of Team USA’s (15-5, 4-0 Pan Am Games) doubleheader at the Pan American Games, defeating Brazil 7-5 in the play-in game and then moving onto the Gold Medal Game following a 2-1 victory over Mexico. The Americans, who have won one gold medal (1967) and eight silver medals since 1951 at these Games, will face Cuba, who won their pool following a 4-0 victory over Nicaragua.
“Our goal for the summer was to play for a goal medal, and that’s where we are at,” said Manager Mike Weathers. “To win a double header in international play, is very difficult, and I’m proud of our guys today and the obstacles they had to face. We will be ready to go tomorrow.”
Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) had two multi-hit games today, giving him four for the Games, as he went 3-for-4 with the game-winning RBI against Mexico, after going 2-for-3 with a key two-run single against Brazil.
“I felt good today. Playing for a gold medal means a lot,” said Satterwhite. “Good hitting got us into the finals, and we continue to play well.”
Brian Matusz (1-0, San Diego) threw six and one third innings in the semifinal win, giving it over to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead after giving just three hits and five strikeouts. Francisco Campos countered with two runs on seven hits, pitching into the seventh, taking the loss for Mexico.
“It was exciting to pitch in a semifinal game, maybe outside the gold medal, our most important game,” said Matusz. “I didn’t know a lot about Mexico, but I knew they had some power by the way they swung the bat. My off speed pitch was not great, but I was spotting my fastball and my changeup was getting grounders and popups.”
USA reliever Brett Hunter retired six in a row and two and one-third overall, before Benjamin Gil hit a two-out double in the ninth. Satterwhite, after walking a batter, got a lineout of Ivan Terrazas to pick up his third save of the summer.
Team USA took a 2-1 lead on Mexico in the fifth with an RBI double by Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) and an RBI single from Forsythe.
The Americans guaranteed the No. 1 seed in Pool A earlier in the day, holding on for a 7-5 win over host Brazil, thanks to a five-run seventh inning.
Joe Kelly (1-0, UC Riverside) got the win in relief, as Satterwhite came on with the bases loaded and no outs with a three-run lead in the ninth and got the save.
Claudio Yamada, the third of four pitchers in the seventh, threw eight-straight balls to walk the go-ahead run in for the Americans to ignite the inning. A Forsythe two-run single followed, before a Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) double made it 7-2.
Ryan Berry (Rice) gave up four hits and two runs over five and one third innings, but walked five, as the Americans tied the game in the sixth and second innings.
U.S. PAN AMERICAN NOTES
The Americans have won a medal in 14 out of the previous 16 games since the games started in 1951. They won their only gold medal in 1967 in Canada, and finished a runner-up another eight times. In their last series in 2003, when Manager Mike Weathers and assistant Mark Scalf were assistants, Team USA finished with a silver medal to Cuba… Team USA’s pitching staff was called for 12 walks on Wednesday, after averaging just under three per game over the first 18 games.
With Mexico winning the continued game over Venezuela 3-2 in 10 innings, Cuba earned the No. 1 seed in Pool B and Mexico was the No. 2 seed…. Nicaragua defeated the Dominican Republic 2-0 in the other play-in game, giving Nicaragua and the Dominican 1-2 records in Pool B, and guaranteeing the Americans a medal game about 90 minutes prior to USA’s final pitch against Brazil.