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USA Baseball defeats Wilmington 7-3

USABASEBALL_thumb.jpgWILMINGTON, N.C. – Rain cut short the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team’s game against Wilmington, but the squad used a pair of big innings to take a 7-3 win in six innings. Matt Imhof (Cal Poly) pitched four scoreless frames and Austin Cousino (Kentucky) led the offense with three hits.

Imhof was outstanding in his four innings of work, facing the minimum number of batters. After issuing a lead-off walk, he got the second batter of the game to bounce into an inning-ending double play to start a string of 11 straight retired. He finished the evening with five strikeouts. Colin Welmon (Loyola Marymount) allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in two innings.

Alex Bregman (LSU) started a first inning two-out rally with an infield single. Brad Zimmer (San Francisco) launched Team USA’s first home run of the summer over the right center field fence for a 2-0 lead. Sam Travis (Indiana) kept things going with a double and scored easily on a base hit from Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton) to make it a 3-0 contest.

The bats came to life again in the fourth as the Red, White and Blue busted out with four runs on four hits. Taylor Sparks (UC Irvine) rocketed a single up the middle and stole second. He was on third after a wild pitch and scored easily on a double from C.J. Hinojosa (Texas). After a single from Cousino put runners on the corners, Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) lined a double into right to drive in two more. Bregman capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center and a 7-0 lead.

Three straight hits by the Sharks to open the fourth helped Wilmington climb back into the game as it pushed across a trio of runs. Leighton Daniels drove in the first run of the game for the Sharks. A ground out allowed the second run of the inning to score, while an error on a potential double play ball cut the deficit to four, 7-3.

Wilmington threatened to add another run with a pair of two out hits in the sixth innings. With a runner on first, Tyler Slaton doubled to right field. Zimmer picked up the ball on the warning track and hit Hinojosa, who threw a strike to Schwarber at the plate. Schwarber applied the tag to record the final out of the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Team USA had a pair of runners on with one out when the lightning storm started. Minutes later the rain came forcing the game to be called after six innings of play.

The victory improves Team USA’s record to 5-0 in its tour through the Coastal Plains League. The team will hit the road Friday for a contest against the Florence (S.C.) Red Wolves. Kentucky’s A.J. Reed will take the mound for the first time this summer. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m.

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