WILSON, N.C. – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team committed four errors, leading to six unearned runs, as Japan evened the International Friendship Series with a 7-5 victory on Monday at historic Fleming Stadium, home of the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain League.
“It wasn’t one play that cost us this ball game, there were three, four or five that weren’t very characteristic of the talent on this team,” Team USA manager Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) said. “I think there was some lackadaisical effort and a lack of focus. As a coach, a lot of times after a win like we had last night, you worry about that.
“We knew Japan was a lot better team than they showed last night and we knew were going to be in for a battle today and sure enough there it was. I like the fact that we still swung the bats pretty well, we had 10 hits and hit the ball hard a few other times, but the issue offensively was that we stuck out 10 times. That can’t happen, these guys are too good. Hopefully we play a lot better tomorrow.”
After falling, 10-0, in the series opener, Japan (1-1) made Team USA (10-2-2) pay for every miscue in the second game, fighting off two U.S. comeback attempts before plating four unearned runs in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie. The Collegiate National Team got two runs back a half inning later but that would be as close as it would get.
Alex Bregman (LSU) paced a 10-hit U.S. offensive attack by going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and three runs scored. Dansby Swanson (Vanderbilt) was 3-for-5 in the contest, while DJ Stewart (Florida State) and Zack Collins (Miami) had two hits each as well.
Kyle Funkhouser (Louisville) gave Team USA 5.2 strong innings but was the tough-luck loser after allowing four runs – just one earned – on four hits while striking out seven. Dillon Tate (UCSB) came out of the bullpen to pitch the final 2.1 innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits while fanning a batter.
The Collegiate National Team will close out its stay in the States on Tuesday when it concludes out its series against Japan with a 6 p.m. showdown at Buck Hardee Field in Wilmington, N.C. Cal State Fullerton right-hander Justin Garza will get the nod on the mound for Team USA.