COLUMBIA, S.C. – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team scored six runs over the final three innings to break a close game open late as it defeated the Columbia Blowfish of the Coastal Plain League, 9-1, on Thursday evening at Capital City Stadium.
“We left a lot of baserunners on base and hit into a couple of double plays early in the game and sometimes when that happens the game can get away from you a little bit,” Team USA manager Dave Van Horn said. “I told our guys to keep battling up there and they did a good job of that.
“We were able to stick to our approach, ended up drawing nine walks and were able to wear them down a little bit at the end. We had a good day at the plate yesterday too and our pitching has been really solid, so hopefully we can keep it going when we head over to Florence tomorrow.”
Columbia held a 1-0 advantage through four frames before a two-run home run by Nick Banks (Texas A&M) finally got the Team USA on the scoreboard. The first of two run-scoring singles by Alex Bregman (LSU) on the night followed in the fifth. Zack Collins (Miami) then added a two-run double off the wall in the sixth before a four-run eighth put the game out of reach.
Bregman finished the contest 2-for-5 with a team-high three RBIs while DJ Stewart (Florida State) and Christin Stewart (Tennessee) both drew three walks and scored two runs each. Mark Matthias (Cal Poly) added his second multi-hit effort in as many days, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Tate Matheny (Missouri State) had two hits as well.
Cal State Fullerton products Justin Garza and Thomas Eshelman, as well as Oregon State right-hander Andrew Moore all worked two innings each. Moore finished with five punchouts in his time on the hill.
Three relievers – Skylar Hunter (The Citadel), Dillon Tate (UCSB) and Tyler Jay (Illinois) then closed out the contest with one scoreless stanza each. The six pitchers combined to 11 batters while walking just two and allowing only five hits.
The Collegiate National Team, now 6-0 on the summer, will continue its Red, White and Blue Tour when it travels to Florence, S.C., on Friday to take on the Florence Redwolves at 7 p.m. at Sparrow Stadium. Georgia freshman right-hander Robert Tyler will get the start on the mound. Batting practice for the U.S. squad will run from 5:15-6 p.m.