THOMASVILLE, N.C. – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team rolled to a series-opening win, 10-0, over Japan on Sunday as it scored three runs in each of the first two innings and Carson Fulmer (Vanderbilt) and Andrew Moore (Oregon State) combined on a two-hit shutout in front of a packed house at Finch Field in Thomasville, N.C., home of the High Point-Thomasville HiTops of the Coastal Plain League.
“Carson came out in the top of the first and you could just tell that he had electric stuff,” Team USA manager Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) said. “He threw eight pitches and we were right back in the dugout. That set the tone for our offense, we came out swinging the bat well and the floodgates opened pretty quick. I thought we did a great job of running the bases today, going from first to third, and put a lot of pressure on them.
“We had some big hits, including a couple with two outs that drove in some runs and extended some innings. It seemed like everybody contributed one through nine. Today was a good start for us in this series. Hopefully we can keep swinging the bats like this and go out and win the series tomorrow.
Team USA took note of the firework displays it has seen the past few nights and put on a show of its own offensively, pounding out 17 hits with seven different players knocking in at least one run. Vanderbilt teammates Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds, as well as Clemson catcher Chris Okey, all posted three-hit performances.
Mark Mathias (Cal Poly) and Tate Matheny (Missouri State) both launched solo shots for their first home runs of the summer with Mathias driving in a team-high three runs in the win.
On the mound, Fulmer (1-0) set the tone from the get-go, retiring the first nine batters he faced. He would finish with six shutout innings during which he allowed just one hit and struck out four. Oregon State right-hander Andrew Moore picked up his first save as he twirled three scoreless frames to complete the shutout victory.
Team USA jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and never looked back. An RBI single by Reynolds and two-run double by Mathias staked the squad to a 3-0 advantage after one before Swanson, Reynolds and DJ Stewart (Florida State) all recorded RBIs in the bottom of the second.
After an opposite-field bomb by Matheny in the fifth, the U.S. put the game out of reach with another three-run frame in the bottom of the seventh as Mathias launched a leadoff home run and Christin Stewart (Tennessee) and Okey had two-out RBI doubles.
The Collegiate National Team and Japan will return to the diamond on Monday when they travel to Wilson, N.C., for a 7 p.m. showdown at Fleming Stadium, home of the CPL’s Wilson Tobs. Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser is scheduled to start on the mound for Team USA.