FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
(OSTRAVA, Czech Republic) – Micah Gibbs’ one-out, two-run single started a four-run ninth, and Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State; San Diego) notched 13 strikeouts in a no-decision Friday as the USA Baseball National Team defeated Korea 5-2 in pool-play action of the FISU World Championships at Ostrava Field. It was the first FISU pool-play game for Team USA, which improved to 17-0 on its 2008 tour with the victory.
Gibbs (LSU; Pflugerville, Texas) took a strike and then fouled off another before slapping Hee Kwan Yoo’s 0-2 offering back up the middle for the game-winning hit. Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.) followed with a two-run homer to right-center.
Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas) worked around his own fielding error and a walk against the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth. Korea got an unearned run on a one-out sacrifice fly, but Volz escaped without further damage.
On the game’s final batter, second baseman Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Corona, Calif.) made a diving stop on a grounder in the right-field grass; Colon then rolled and threw from the seat of his pants. First baseman Jared Clark (Cal State Fullerton; Castaic, Calif.) scooped Colon’s one-hop throw for the game-ending out.
That made a winner of Kyle Gibson (Missouri; Greenfield, Ind.), who earned the victory despite blowing a save. Gibson allowed one run on two hits in the eighth inning.
The eighth-inning run took the win away from starter Stephen Strasburg, who was untouchable for 7.0 innings. Strasburg, who Wednesday was named to the 2008 USA Baseball Olympic Team, did not allow a hit, walking one and striking out 13. His strikeout total tied for the second-best total in National Team history, one shy of the single-game record shared by B.J. Wallace (Mississippi State, 1992) and Jason Jennings (Baylor, 1998).
Blake Smith (California; Modesto, Calif.) provided the game’s first hit when he led off the top of the fifth with a home run down the right-field line. Team USA also got a single from Gibbs and a double from Tommy Mendonca (Fresno State; Turlock, Calif.) in the inning to put runners at second and third with one out. However, the U.S. squad stranded both runners.
Korea’s first hit came to lead off the eighth when Kyung Su Bae singled up the middle. Bae then took second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a ground out. Pinch-hitter Sung Yong Na followed with a seeing-eye single through the left side, scoring Bae with the tying run.
Team USA returned the favor in the top of the ninth as Josh Fellhauer (Cal State Fullerton; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) ripped a leadoff single down the right-field line. Clark followed with a single through the left side, and Smith advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. That set the stage for Gibbs’ game-winning hit.
Korea starter Yu Kang Heo allowed one run on four hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over 7.0 innings. Yoo was saddled with the loss, allowing one run on one hit in 1.0 inning. Hyun June Park surrendered three runs on three hits in the ninth.
Gibbs and Smith both had two-hit games for the National Team.
Team USA continues pool play at the FISU World Championships with a Saturday game against the Czech Republic. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT at Ostrava Field.