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Gerrit Cole leads Team USA to a 3-0 victory over Japan


Gerrit Cole (Courtesy of USA Baseball)

(MATSUYAMA, JAPAN) – Gerrit Cole (UCLA) struck out nine batters and Tyler Holt (Florida State) scored the game-winning run as Team USA (12-1) beat Japan 3-0 in game one of the 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate Championships at Botchan Stadium in Matsuyama, Japan.

Team USA took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning behind the bats of Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) and Matt Newman (Arizona State). After Holt tallied his second hit of the game, Colon followed with an RBI triple to right centerfield. Matt Newman brought Colon in on a single down the left field line for the two-run cushion.

Keiji Nakahara hit a triple in the seventh inning with one out to pressure the U.S., but the outstretched arm of Rick Hague (Rice) kept Japan off the board when he snagged a liner to his left and forced the tag out at the plate. Nakahara was the only Japan player to reach third base on the day.

Andy Wilkins (Arkansas) brought in an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single to the left field wall to score Newman from second base for the final score of 3-0.

Team USA starter Cole pitched seven complete innings. He gave up only two hits, struck out nine batters and walked one. Reliever Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) pitched one inning of scoreless relief and Chad Bettis (Texas Tech) closed out the game in the ninth.

Cole (3-0) got the win while Japan starter Karuhito Futagami (0-1) was tagged with the loss. Bettis (3) picked up the save for Team USA.

Game two of the best-of-five series will be Monday, July 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM (5:00 AM ET) at the Tokyo Dome. Drew Pomeranz (Ole Miss) will take the mound for Team USA.

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