BIRMINGHAM, AL— China’s Kun Chen, Youhua Guo and Quansheng Zhao out dueled Team USA’s Lance Lynn (2-1) and Jordy Mercer as the Chinese (1-2) won the third game of the five-game series over the Americans (17-7), 2-1, on Wednesday evening. Team USA had won the first two games of the series.
Chen went the first six and two-thirds, giving up one run on seven hits, before yielding to Guo. Guo went an inning and one-third before yielding to Zhao in the ninth, who posted the save, despite putting the tying run on second base.
Brett Wallace (Arizona State) and Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) each had three of the Americans nine hits, who rested starting outfielders Jordan Danks (Texas) and Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) to begin the night.
Espinosa’s bunt base hit in the ninth sent the winning run to the plate against Zhao with one out. Espinosa was then balked to second. Zhao though got a flyout and strikeout to end the game.
An RBI single followed by a groundout gave China a 2-1 lead in the second, the second time in two nights the Chinese led early.
Lynn went the first four innings, giving up two runs on two hits. Mercer went the final six innings, not allowing a hit the rest of the way. He struck out eight on the night and did not walk a batter.
Wallace gave the Americans a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single.
The game was delayed by over an hour due to a rain storm which started around 90 minutes prior to first pitch… Manager Mike Weathers played in the Oakland A’s minor league system in Birmingham, AL in the mid-1970’s for three years… RHPs Jacob Thompson (Virginia) and Brian Matusz (San Diego), neither of which are injured, left the team for precautionary reasons due to a high number of innings pitched over the previous eight months… Thompson finished the summer 1-2 with a 1.27 ERA, Matusz was 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA… junior national team invitee, Tyler Stovall, a lefthander/outfielder from Hokes Bluff (AL) High School joined the team on Wednesday and will be with the team through the end of the week… Team USA is now 2-2 against Communist-led governments over the last four games (China and Cuba).
The five-game series with China continues in Rome, GA on Thursday and Ft. Mill, SC on Friday, finishing off the nine-game (two-day) American trip with the Netherlands and Russia in North Carolina… the team closes out their schedule at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands starting on August 2.