Team USA Tops Japan 8-4

FROM USA BASEBALL

Christian Colon (Courtesy of USA Baseball)

Christian Colon (Courtesy of USA Baseball)

(SENDAI, Japan) – Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) pitched five and a third innings of scoreless relief and Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) hit a three-run home run in the fourth to lead Team USA to an 8-4 victory over Japan in game three of the 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate Championships.

Team Japan scored three runs in the top of the first inning on USA starter Cody Wheeler (Coastal Carolina). Takahiro Araki hit an RBI triple to score the first run of the game and Masayoshi Kato followed with a two-RBI triple to put Team Japan up 3-0 after the first inning.

Team USA responded immediately with four runs of its own in the top of the second inning. Blake Forsythe (Tennessee) hit an RBI single through the left side to bring in Yasmani Grandal (Miami). Tyler Holt (Florida State), Brad Miller (Clemson) and Colon followed with RBI singles to take the lead 4-3.

Colon extended the U.S. lead with a three-run shot that cleared the left field fence. He crossed the plate again in the seventh inning on a passed ball for Team USA’s eighth run.

Japan tallied its fourth run on a Keiji Nakahara home run to center field in the fourth inning.

U.S. starter Wheeler pitched three and two-third innings and gave up four runs, one earned, on six hits and struck out five. Gray (2-0) came on with the bases loaded in the fourth and pitched five and a third innings of scoreless relief to get the win. He finished with five strikeouts and gave up one hit.

Japan starter Hirokara Kawamura surrendered four runs on six hits in one and two-third innings and Yusuke Nomura (0-1) was tagged with the loss after giving up three runs in his relief work.

Game four of the best-of-five series will continue Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 6:00 PM (5:00 AM ET) at Tsuruoka Dream Stadium in Tsuruoka, Japan. USA leads the series 2-1 and could clinch the series with a victory.