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Team USA advances to FISU Championship Game

(BRNO, Czech Republic) – Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State; San Diego, Calif.) struck out nine over 7.0 innings, and Kyle Gibson (Missouri; Greenfield, Ind.) and Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas) completed the shutout at the USA Baseball National Team defeated the Chinese-Taipei National Team 3-0 in Saturday’s semifinal game of the 2008 FISU World Championships at Mestsky Stadium.

Team USA improved to 23-0 on its 2008 tour with the victory, which places the U.S. squad in Sunday’s gold-medal game against the winner of Saturday night’s Korea-Japan game. It also marked Team USA’s 10th victory in as many tries against Taipei this summer, and it was the fifth shutout in 23 games for U.S. pitching.

Strasburg dominated Taipei most of the day, and Taiwan only threatened twice. Chih-Hsiang Lin singled to lead off the game, but he was stranded at third as Strasburg retired the next eight batters in succession, including a stretch with four consecutive strikeouts. Chih-Hsiang led off the sixth with a double, but against Strasburg escaped unscathed and stranded Chih-Hsiang at third.

Team USA seized a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Matt den Dekker (Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) beat out a potential double-play ball that allowed Micah Gibbs (LSU; Pflugerville, Texas) to score from third. Gibbs added an RBI groundout of his own in the sixth. Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Corona, Calif.) set up the run as he led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and stole third.

Two-out doubles from Josh Fellhauer (Cal State Fullerton; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and Blake Davis (California; Modesto, Calif.) on consecutive pitches pushed Team USA’s lead to 3-0.

Gibson and Volz pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Gibson had one strikeout, and Volz struck out Min-Szu Chen looking for game’s final out. It was the seventh save in as many opportunities for Volz. Team USA pitchers retired the final 12 Taipei batters they faced.

Fellhauer, who missed Team USA’s final pool-play game Thursday due to illness, returned to the lineup and was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

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