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Team USA rolls over Czech Republic

(OSTRAVA, Czech Republic) – Jared Clark (Cal State Fullerton; Castaic, Calif.) went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBI Saturday night as the USA Baseball National Team defeated the Czech Republic National Team 8-2 in pool-play action of the 2008 FISU World Championships at Ostrava Field. Team USA improved to 2-0 in FISU pool-play action and 18-0 on its 2008 tour with the victory.

Clark was not the only Cal State Fullerton player to shine for Team USA. Josh Fellhauer (Cal State Fullerton; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) went 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI, two walks and three runs scored. Clark and Fellhauer spear-headed Team USA’s 13-hit attack.

The Czech Republic took a 1-0 lead on three consecutive first-inning singles. However, Team USA, playing as the home team, tied the game in the second inning. Clark led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.).

Clark gave Team USA a lead it would never relinquish in the fourth. After Fellhauer walked to lead off the inning, Clark blasted the first pitch he saw over the centerfield wall for a two-run homer. Team USA pushed its lead to 4-1 later in the inning on a Ryan Lipkin (San Francisco; Vacaville, Calif.) RBI single.

Ondrej Petrik’s RBI single down the left-field line in the top of the sixth cut Team USA’s lead to 5-2, but the U.S. squad was quick to respond. Mike Leake (Arizona State; Fallbrook, Calif.) led off the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Derek Dietrich (Georgia Tech; Parma, Ohio).

Team USA added an unearned run in the seventh when Fellhauer doubled and later scored on a Czech error. Fellhauer capped the scoring with an eighth-inning RBI single to right-center.

U.S. starter Mike Minor (Vanderbilt; Chapel Hill, Tenn.) worked around danger most of the night to earn the victory. Minor allowed two runs on four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts over 6.0 innings. A.J. Griffin (San Diego; El Cajon, Calif.) struck out five and walked one over 2.0 scoreless innings, and Blake Smith (California; Modesto, Calif.) worked a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.

Smith, who started the game in right field, was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Leake finished the night 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Clark scored three times.

Team USA continues pool play at the FISU World Championships with a Sunday game against Lithuania. First pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m. EDT at Ostrava Field.

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