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USA Collegiate National Team wins Bronze Medal

HAARLEM – Marco Gonzales (Gonzaga) twirled his second gem of the tournament, striking out nine in eight innings of one-run ball, and the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team held off a furious ninth-inning rally to defeat the Netherlands, 4-3, and claim the bronze medal at Honkbal Week on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Pim Mulier Stadium.

“It was a fun summer,” Team USA manager Dave Serrano said. “Obviously we didn’t get the medal we wanted to, but we will walk out of this stadium proud with a medal around our necks. We were only together for 30 days, but the relationships built during those 30 days will last a lifetime. I’m honored to say that I was the manager for this great group of young men.

“We may have come up short of the medal we wanted, but we did not come up short on character. The way the game ended today, it challenged us to the very last pitch and we proved that we were up to the challenge.”

Gonzales bookended the tournament with victories for the U.S., posting his second terrific performance in just over a week. After striking out 10 in seven innings against Japan in the opener, Gonzales fanned nine and scattered six hits without walking a batter in eight strong frames to earn the win against the Netherlands on Sunday.

For the tournament, Gonzales was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, allowing just two runs on nine hits in 16 innings of work. He struck out 19 batters and walked just two.

After the Netherlands scored twice in the ninth to cut the U.S. lead to just one, Dan Child (Oregon State) came out of the bullpen to strike out the only batter he faced for the final out of the game, leaving the tying run stranded at third. The save was his second of the tournament.

Kyle Farmer (Georgia) led the charge offensively, driving in two runs, while D.J. Peterson (New Mexico) finished his day at the plate 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

The Netherlands got the scoring started in the top of the third when Shaldimar Daantji roped a leadoff double just inside the right-field line, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a chopper just over the mound that went for an infield single by Michael Duursma.

It took Team USA until the fifth to get on the board after managing just one hit off of Netherlands starter and four-time Olympian Rob Cordemans through the first four frames.

In the fifth though, it took just two pitches for the U.S. to tie the game as Austin Cousino (Kentucky) lined the first pitch of the stanza into right-center for a double and Farmer brought him in on the next one with a single to right.

The U.S. pushed two more runs across in the bottom of the sixth, knocking Cordemans out of the game in the process. Johnny Field (Arizona) got the ball rolling with a single to right and Jose Trevino (Oral Roberts) followed with a double to left-center. The Netherlands went to the bullpen for Orlando Yntema but Peterson greeted him rudely, pulling his first pitch into left for an RBI single.

The Red, White and Blue went on to load the bases with just one out and Farmer came through once again, lifting a sacrifice fly to right to score Peterson and put the U.S. up 3-1.

In the seventh, Michael Lorenzen (Cal State Fullerton) manufactured another run for Team USA to make it a three-run advantage. He worked a leadoff walk and quickly moved up to second on a balk that resulted in the ejection of Netherlands manager Brian Farley. A sac bunt by Trea Turner (North Carolina State) then advanced him to third before a wild pitch allowed him to race the 90 feet to home to put the tally on the scoreboard at 4-1.

That final run would prove huge as the Netherlands put together a furious ninth-inning rally in an attempt to spoil Team USA’s bid for the bronze. Although the home nation inched within a single run after a pair of RBI singles and put the tying run on third, Child dropped a 3-2 slider on the outside corner to Daantji to end the game.

The contest marks the final game for the Collegiate National Team this summer. It finishes with an overall record of 12-5, including a 5-2 record during Honkbal Week.

Four of the team’s losses came in a hotly-contested seven game series against Cuba. That series saw the two teams split the first six games before the seventh and final contest went to a 10th-inning tiebreaker. Not only was the final game tied at the conclusion of nine innings, so was the cumulative run total for both teams as both squads had scored 33 runs at that point.

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