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Team USA shuts out Martinsville

(CARY, N.C.) – Tommy Mendonca’s three-run homer capped a four-run first inning and propelled the USA Baseball National Team to a 6-0 victory Tuesday evening over the Martinsville Mustangs of the Coastal Plain League. Team USA improved to 7-0 with the victory.

Micah Gibbs (LSU; Pflugerville, Texas) got the first-inning scoring started with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Mendonca (Fresno State; Turlock, Calif.) then hit the first pitch he saw well over the left-field wall, giving the U.S. squad a 4-0 lead.

That was all the offense the U.S. pitching staff would need as Tyler Lyons (Oklahoma State; Lubbock, Texas) and four relievers combined on a five-hit shutout. Lyons earned the victory in a predetermined 3.0-inning start; he struck out the first five batters he faced and finished with six strikeouts against only one hit.

A.J. Griffin (San Diego; El Cajon, Calif.) and Mike Minor (Vanderbilt; Chapel Hill, Tenn.) worked the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, and each struck out two batters. Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas) allowed two hits and struck out four in 2.0 innings, and Mike Leake (Arizona State; Fallbrook, Calif.) allowed one hit and hit another batter with two strikeouts over the final 2.0 innings.

Team USA added a pair of runs in the sixth on two hits and a walk. Leake plated the first run with a first-and-third fielder’s choice RBI sacrifice bunt. Martinsville pitcher Dane Little tried to get Kentrail Davis (Tennessee; Theodore, Ala.) at home, but Davis slid under the tag. Leake then stole second and scored on a Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.) two-out single.

Starter Stephen Foster, the first of seven Martinsville pitchers, took the loss. He allowed four runs on two hits and four walks with two strikeouts over 2.0 innings.

The National Team managed only four hits on the day but walked seven times. Davis scored twice.

Team USA travels Wednesday to Europe, where it will compete for the remainder of the month. The first stop is the 2008 Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands. Play begins Saturday against Japan. First pitch is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT.

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