Team Canada, representing Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), was defeated by Chinese Taipei, 6-4, at AVG Draci Brno Stadium, in Brno, CZ. This was the first game for both teams at the 4th World University Baseball Championships.
Team Canada started strong and were hurt by inning ending double plays in both the first and second innings of the game. Canada’s Thain Simon (Santa Clara) started strong on the mound as he held Taipei scoreless through the first two innings, striking out two batters. The third inning was the main story of the tonight’s game, in the top of the third inning, Chinese Taipei changed pitchers and brought in Kai-Wen Cheng, who retired Team Canada in order for the first time in the game. In the bottom half of the inning, Chinese Taipei scored five runs off Simon, while only managing one extra base hit a double in the middle of the rally.
Canada would go on to shut down the Chinese Taipei offense the rest of the way except for a run in the fifth inning on a two singles and a wild pitch. The Canadian bats came to life in the 7th inning as Canada scored four runs and nearly batted around on Cheng, who left the game after one batter in the 8th inning. Catcher Jeff VIckers (Lamar) started the rally with a base hit, with one out two consecutive singles loaded the bases and lead off hitter, Ken Fuglerud (Saint Mary’s) delivered a three-run double to the left center field gap to pull Canada to within three runs. Grant Kveder (Gonzaga) knocked Fuglerud in and the comeback was on as Canada entered the 7th inning stretch down by two runs.
In both the 8th and 9th inning Team Canada had opportunities to tie the game but the comeback ended on a double play in the 9th, the third Canada hit into on this opening game of the 6-game round robin tournament. “We were very competitive tonight,” said Head Coach Terry McKaig (British Columbia). “Tonight our team showed in can comeback from an early deficit and challenge for the victory.” This marks a vast improvement by Team Canada over the previous two teams that attended the World University Games in Italy (2002) and Chinese Taipei (2004).
Their were many brights spots on offense led by Sammie Starr (British Columbia) who went 2 for 4 with a walk and had a key single in the 7th inning that led to the fourth run being scored. Second Baseman Kyle Prevett (Grayson CC) was 2 for 4 with a run scored in addition to Fuglerud’s key 7th inning hit.
Team Canada’s relief pitchers were brilliant, as they held Chinese Taipei to the one run over the last six innings of the game, while striking out 5 batters and allowing only one walk. “They have been great so far for us,” said McKaig. “Tonight they kept us in the game and allowed us to make a game of it by shutting down Taipei’s offense.” Team Canada was able to use 6 pitchers tonight due to the day off tomorrow created by Team India not showing up at the games.
Canada impressed the Czech crowd at Brno, and will next face Japan, on Sunday, July 20th, at Brno, at 6:00PM local time (12:00PM EDT).
David A. Kent, Communications Manager