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Team USA hammers Strike Zone of Omaha 16-0


PeterO'BrienBCU Omaha, Neb. – In its final tune-up game before heading overseas to Taiwan and Japan, Team USA defeated the Strike Zone of Omaha 16-0 in seven innings Thursday afternoon at Warrior Field. Peter O’Brien (Bethune-Cookman) hit a pair of home runs and Alex Dickerson (Indiana) added a round-tripper of his own as both players recorded a team-best four RBI. With the win Team USA improves to 9-0 on the summer.

From the beginning the Strike Zone squad seemed to be overmatched as the Collegiate National Team (CNT) scored eight runs over the first three innings, plating three in the first, five in the second and two in the third. Dickerson put USA on the board when he drew a bases loaded walk that scored Drew Maggi (Arizona State) who doubled to start the game. On the very next pitch, George Springer (Connecticut) laced a two-RBI single through the left side pushing across Brad Miller (Clemson) and Ryan Wright (Louisville) for a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the second, the Collegiate National Team took advantage of a pair of errors increasing its lead to 8-0. Maggi recorded his second hit of the day, a bunt single, to load the bases for Miller who singled home O’Brien with a shot to left field. Two batters later Dickerson cleared the bases after lifting a 1-2 pitch to right field for his first home run of the summer tour.

O’Brien’s solo home run to left field and an RBI double off the bat of Miller highlighted Team USA’s two-run third that extended the lead to 10-0.

While the offense was flexing its muscles at the dish, the pitching staff was clicking on all cylinders has they had a perfect game going through five innings. Starter Matt Barnes (Connecticut) improved to 2-0 on season after working two innings with a three strikeouts. Florida’s Brian Johnson held the Strike Zone team hitless with three innings of relief with two strikeouts before Scott McGough (Oregon) closed out the final two frames. Matt Sautter ruined the perfect game with a walk in the sixth with two outs and in the Brandon Willis’ base knock to left field broke up the no-hitter in the seventh.

O’Brien’s second homer of the game, a three-run shot to left, capped a five-run sixth that gave Team USA a 15-0 lead. During the frame, Wright singled home Miller and Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) pushed across Wright on a groundout to second.

Springer capped off his 2-for-4 performance with an RBI single through the left side that scored Miller for the fourth time on the afternoon in the seventh inning for a final score of 16-0.

John Sorenson suffered the loss allowing eight runs (all earned) on five hits in 1 1/3 innings. It goes without saying that the Strike Zone bullpen didn’t fair any better as they were touched for eight runs on 10 hits over the last 5 2/3 innings.

Offensively the Collegiate National Team recorded a season-high 15 hits, marking the fourth-straight game with double-digit base knocks and the fifth in nine games. Miller led the attack with his 3-for-3 performance, while Dickerson, Maggi, O’Brien and Springer had two hits each.

Team USA will be back in action on Sunday, July 25 when they start a four-game international friendly series with Chinese-Taipei at Tien-Mu Stadium. Game times for the series have not yet been determined.

Notes: Team USA participated in a clinic Thursday morning at Creighton University where members of the team taught the basic fundamentals of baseball to 60-plus kids … During Thursday’s afternoon scrimmage, Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) saw his seven-game hit streak come to an end … Currently there are four players with a four-game hit streak heading into play next week with Chinese-Taipei (Jackie Bradley, Jr., Brad Miller, Peter O’Brien and George Springer) … With its third shutout of the season, CNT’s ERA has dropped to an impressive 1.05 during nine games … The pitching staff has fanned 91 batters while walking just 17.

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