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Team USA rallies past Japan to complete Doubleheader Sweep

DURHAM, N.C. – Dominic Ficociello’s (Arkansas) run-scoring single in the seventh proved to be the game-winner as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team defeated Japan, 4-3, Tuesday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

For the second time during the series, Team USA used a late-inning rally to defeat Japan, and on Tuesday, it gave the club a doubleheader sweep. In addition, it gave Team USA a 3-0 advantage over Japan with two games remaining in the five-game series.

The U.S. rallied from a 3-1 deficit for Tuesday night’s win, with Brian Johnson (Florida) starting it with a solo home run over the right field fence. That was his second home run with Team USA and cut the lead to 3-2.

Michael Lorenzen (Cal State Fullerton) then reached on a bunt single, and moved to second on a groundout. Two batters later, Lorenzen tied the game when Tyler Naquin (Texas A&M) doubled off the fence in center field. That set up Ficociello’s game-winning single to center.

Marcus Stroman (Duke) worked a scoreless ninth inning for his fourth save.

Ficociello and Naquin both tallied two hits for the U.S., which finished with 10 overall.

Team USA took a 1-0 lead on a triple by Josh Elander (Texas Christian) that hit the top of the right field fence and bounced back into play, enabling Nolan Fontana (Florida) to come in from first.

Japan was held off the scoreboard until the seventh when it took the lead. Ryosuke Obuta evened the score with a double to left center, then watched as Hiroki Nakshima drove in Ryutaro Umeno on a 4-3 groundout to take a 2-1 lead.

Hiroshki Taki capped off Japan’s three-run seventh with a sacrifice fly to right, making the score 3-1.

Michael Wacha worked 6 1/3 innings in a start, allowing four hits and three runs – only one of which was earned – and left down 2-1. Hoby Milner (Texas), relieving Wacha, allowed a sacrifice fly but got out of the seventh with no more damage and was the pitcher of record after Team USA’s (11-1) three-run seventh.

Yusuke Nomura took the loss for Japan (0-3) to drop to 0-1. He allowed all three runs in the seventh and gave up four hits with one strikeout and a walk. Japan’s starter, Tomoyuki Sugano, started, and allowed five hits and a run in six innings.

Team USA opened up Tuesday’s play with an 8-2 victory over Japan in a morning contest at the National Training Complex Stadium. The College National Team scored 10 runs in the seventh inning between the two games Tuesday.

Team USA and Japan play the fourth game of the series Wednesday in Kannapolis, N.C. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium. Make sure and visit for a link to live stats as well as a full recap and box after the contest concludes.

USA NOTES: Team USA will take batting practice at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in Kannapolis … Before the game, five USA players were named to Baseball America’s Freshman All-America Team … They were first teamers Michael Lorenzen (Cal State Fullerton) and Corey Knebel (Texas) and second teamers Erich Weiss (Texas), Dominic Ficociello (Arkansas) and Andrew Mitchell (Texas Christian) … The game marked the second doubleheader of the summer for Team USA … It opened its slate with a doubleheader against Keene and Mystic … Ficociello and Josh Elander (Texas Christian) both extended their hit streaks to nine games while Tyler Naquin (Texas A&M) pushed his to eight … Team USA took a victory lap of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park as a thank you for the 9,816 in attendance.

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