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USA Baseball defeats Catawba Valley 9-2

USABASEBALL_thumb.jpgHICKORY, N.C. – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team racked up 16 hits and scored nine runs to take a 9-2 victory over Catawba Valley Monday night. Five Team USA pitchers combined to hold the Stars to one hit in the game.

NC State’s Carlos Rodon (1-0) made an impressive debut on the mound, retiring all six batters he faced. Tyler Beede (Vanderbilt) allowed two runs on one hit in four-plus innings. He walked five and struck out five. Nick Burdi (Louisville) came on with runners on the corners in the seventh and struck out two around a sacrifice fly. Daniel Mengden (Texas A&M) retired all five batters he faced and Chris Diaz (Miami, Fla.) struck out the lone batter he faced.

After two scoreless innings, the speed of Trea Turner (NC State) ignited the Team USA offense in the top of the third. Grayson Greiner (South Carolina) battled back from a 0-2 count to work a lead-off walk. With one out, Turner smoked a double into right field to give Team USA a 1-0 lead. A misplay in right had Turner standing on third and he scored easily on a two-out passed ball.

Three more runs in the fifth broke the game open as the CNT surged to a 5-0 lead. Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton) led off the frame with a bunt single and stole second. A base hit by Taylor Sparks (UC Irvine) had runners on the corners for Kyle Schwarber (Indiana). He drove the ball into the right center gap for a two-run double. Austin Cousino (Kentucky) capped the scoring in the inning with a sacrifice fly to center.

In the fifth, Alex Bregman (LSU) led off the frame with a base hit to right. Two stolen bases later he was standing on third and scored easily on a Chapman sacrifice fly. After Bregman’s single, Michael Conforto (Oregon State) walked. One out singles from Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco) and Sparks had the bases full. Schwarber collected his third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to make it a 7-0 contest.

Chapman led off the seventh inning with a double and was standing on third with one out. Sparks drove him in with his third hit of the game to give Team USA an 8-2 advantage.

Catawba Valley did some damage in the bottom of the seventh as it broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with one swing of the bat. Dylan Yankle was hit by the first pitch of the inning and was standing on second after a wild pitch. Tyler Edwards ripped a double just inside the first base line to drive in the Stars first run of the game. Edwards was standing on third with one out and scored on a sacrifice fly from Ben Lott.

Team USA pushed across its ninth run of the game in the top of the ninth to account for the final score. Sparks’ fourth hit of the night led off the inning and he stole second with one out. Greiner lined a double into right center to drive in the run for a 9-2 lead.

Team USA (9-0) will play its final tune up game Tuesday afternoon before departing for Japan on Wednesday. The Collegiate National Team will meet the Carolina Virginia CBL Select team at 1:05 p.m. The game will take place at Lenoir-Rhyne University Stadium.

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