USA drops critical game to Chinese Taipei

FROM USA BASEBALL
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS— Team USA (25-11, 4-3 WPT) was beat for the second time by Chinese Taipei (4-4 WPT) at the World Port Tournament, 1-0, forcing the Americans to have to beat first place Cuba on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s finals. If they lose on Saturday, their summer is over.

The Americans forced one last rally in the ninth inning off of Wei-Hua Lee, who finished with a complete game four-hitter. Tommy Medica (Santa Clara) had a one-out pinch-hit single, before a two-out bunt base hit by Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) in front of the plate, followed by a walk, loaded the bases. But Petey Paramore (Arizona State) struck out on a 2-2 pitch to give the Taiwanese the victory.

Lee worked his magic all day long, retiring 10 in a row early, and then another nine in a row into the eighth inning.

Tyson Ross (4-1, California) lost for the first time this summer, pitching seven-plus innings, giving up one run on six hits. He put runners on base in seven of the eight innings, but got 13 groundball outs. With a runner on base in the eighth, Brett Hunter (Pepperdine) came on and struck out the side.

Ryan Flaherty’s (Vanderbilt) hit in the fifth, the 3500th hit in the tournament’s history, broke a string of 10 in a row retired by Lee, and loaded the bases for the first of two times. Two walks followed Flaherty, before Jordy Mercer (Oklahoma State) struck out to end the threat and keep Taipei up 1-0.

A one-out triple by Chien-Yu Kuo came around to score on a groundout to give Taipei a 1-0 lead in the first.

TEAM NOTES
Ryan Flaherty’s single in the fifth inning was the 3500th hit in the tournament’s 22-year, 11-time history… Standings heading into tonight’s game between Cuba and the Netherlands are the Cubans are 6-0, Japan is 0-7 and the Netherlands is 3-3… Netherlands will need to win twice and have Team USA lose to Cuba in order to get into the Finals… The Americans won four of five from Chinese Taipei in the States and lost the first game at the World Port Tournament, 10-5… Jordan Danks has hit safely in the last six World Port Games… games can be followed live on the internet at http://www.worldporttournament.nl/… Stats are available at: http://utopia.ision.nl/users/hwede/stats07/wpt07/ and under live scoring.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
The Americans will close out the summer with a game against Cuba (8 a.m. Eastern). The Finals between the first place team, currently Cuba (6-0) and the second place team are on August 12 at 7 a.m, Eastern, finishing the summer for the Americans.