Gerrit Cole leads Team USA to 4-1 win over Japan

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Omaha, Neb. – Gerrit Cole (UCLA) worked six innings allowing one run and striking out seven as Team USA defeated Japan 4-1 Wednesday night at Rosenblatt Stadium in a friendly international game. With the win the Collegiate National Team (CNT) improves to 8-0 on the summer.

Cole (1-0) was impressive from the outset retiring nine of his first 10 batters with three strikeouts and allowed just one extra base hit on the night. Team USA’s bullpen was just as impressive as Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt) and Noe Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) worked the final three innings allowing two hits with a pair of strikeouts. Ramirez recorded his team-best third save on CNT’s tour.

Takayuki Fujii (0-1) suffered the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on 11 hits with six walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander threw 143 pitches on the night and faced 39 batters.

Nolan Fontana (Florida) gave USA an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when he grounded out to second scoring Drew Maggi (Arizona State) from third base. Maggi lead off the game lacing a triple to right center, Team USA’s second three-bagger of the summer tour.

Team USA pushed across two more runs in the second taking a 3-0 lead. Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt) walked to start the frame then took second on Steve Rodriguez’ (UCLA) first hit of the summer, a shot back up the middle. A double-steal by Esposito and Rodriguez moved runners in scoring position before Maggi lifted a ball to center with one out scoring Esposito. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (South Carolina) singled to right with runners on the corner scoring Rodriguez for the second run of the inning before Fontana was hosed at the plate.

Japan scratched across a run in the fourth cutting USA’s lead to 3-1 when Takasi Ikusima doubled home Ryunisuke Kobayasi with a shot to left center.

Team USA scored its final run in the eighth inning when Mike Mahtook (LSU) touched home on a passed ball for a 4-1 lead. Mahtook singled up the middle with two outs then stole second and moved to third on Fontana’s bunt single back to the pitcher.

Offensively Team USA pounded out 11 hits for the third-straight game and fourth time this summer.

The Collegiate National Team will be back in action Thursday when they square off against The Strike Zone at Westside High School. First pitch is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (CST).

Notes: Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) extended his current hitting streak to six games with his single to center in the third inning … Steve Rodriguez, who recorded his first career hit for Team USA, was 2-for-2 in the game …Nine members of Team USA (Jackie Bradley, Jr., Gerrit Cole, Nolan Fontana, Sean Gilmartin, Brian Johnson, Drew Maggi, Brad Miller, Steve Rodriguez and Kyle Winkler) are among a select group of college players who played in the last College World Series and suited up for the last amateur baseball game ever at Rosenblatt Stadium … Also joining the players on this list is Team USA’s athletic trainer Danny Wheat (Texas Christian) … Team USA will participate in a clinic Thursday morning at Creighton University starting at 10 a.m.