FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team scored nine runs over the first three innings and never looked back en route to an 11-6 victory over the Fayetteville Swampdogs of the Coastal Plain League on Monday evening at J.P. Riddle Stadium.
“It’s very exciting to be part of USA Baseball,” manager Dave Serrano said. “We continue to talk to the guys about the pride of wearing this uniform and I think it hit everyone during the national anthem. We have to bring this team together in a hurry and we have a challenging road ahead of us, but it is exciting to get the first win. It wasn’t the most well-played game for us, but a win is a win and we’ll take it as we try to continue to bring this team together.”
Austin Cousino (Kentucky) finished 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, three runs scored, three RBIs, a walk and a stolen base to pace team USA offensively. Jose Trevino (Oral Roberts) and D.J. Peterson (New Mexico) drove in two runs each as well.
“Tonight was a great night, overall,” Cousino said. “I think some guys had a few nerves coming out here on the field for Team USA, but it was fun. There are a lot of things we can work on, but it was good to get out on the field for the first time together.”
As a team, the CNT pounded out 11 runs on 13 hits in its first contest of a 22-game summer schedule.
USA starting pitcher Trevor Williams (Arizona State) went 3.2 innings, allowing three runs – one earned – on six hits. Reliever Zack Godley (Tennessee) was tremendous in relief, holding the Swampdogs off the scoreboard and striking out five in his 2.1 innings on the mound.
Godley, by virtue of Williams not going the required five innings – despite leaving with the lead – picked up the win and improved to 1-0 this summer.
Tommy Thorpe (Oregon) and David Berg (UCLA) both made their USA debut on the mound with Berg shutting the door by striking out two over the final 1.1 innings to close out the game.
Team USA got the summer off to a quick start, racing out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Cousino knocked in Trea Turner (NC State) with a double and Peterson drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly two batters later.
The red, white and blue continued to apply the pressure in the second inning, taking advantage of three SwampDog errors to plate six more runs. Cousino then doubled in another run in the third to give the Collegiate National Team a commanding 9-0 advantage.
The Swampdogs responded with three runs over the next two innings, but Team USA answered the bell with a pair of tallies in the top of the sixth when Peterson and Trevino both came through with RBI singles.
Free passes came back to haunt the CNT in the eighth, as a hit batter and three straight walks to start the frame allowed one run to score before a single to left made it a three-run inning to bring the game to its eventual final score.
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will next travel to Wilmington, N.C., on Tuesday where it will square off with the Wilmington Sharks at Buck Hardee Field at 7:05 p.m. Adam Plutko (UCLA) will get the starting nod on the mound.