HAARLEM, The Netherlands – The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team fired its second straight shutout and seventh of the summer as it defeated Chinese Taipei, 4-0, at Honkbal Week on Monday afternoon at Pim Mulier Stadium.
“We are pitching extremely well, playing good defense and the ball isn’t carrying much out here so the way we are approaching the game has to be a little bit different,” Team USA manager Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) said. “We feel like we need to manufacture runs and that is we were able to do for the most part today. We did make a few mistakes on the bases and that probably cost us a couple of runs, but all in all, we played pretty well.
“We did a much better job today of getting our leadoff guy on base, I think we had six leadoff baserunners in eight innings today, and that is something we haven’t been doing. It gave us a chance to open up the offense when we got the lead. We tried to hit-and-run four times today and we were able to steal a couple of bases. Because of the outstanding pitching, we feel like we can make an out here and there to advance a baserunner because we are just trying to play for one run without a sac bunt.”
Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, Andrew Moore (Oregon State) and A.J. Minter (Texas A&M) combined to limit Chinese Taipei to six hits just two days after four U.S. pitchers posted a no-hitter over the Netherlands.
Through the first three games of Honkbal Week, Team USA has allowed just one run on 10 hits and has worked 21.1 scoreless frames since allowing that single tally, which came with two outs in the sixth inning against Japan on Friday.
Through 18 games this summer, the U.S. staff has recorded seven shutouts and has a team ERA of 1.47. In 158.2 innings, it has struck out 172 batters while walking just 53 and is holding opposing batters to a .155 average.
Funkhouser gave the U.S. squad another fine effort from its starting pitcher as he fired 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits while walking one and striking out four. His performance was the fourth straight game in which a Team USA starting pitcher has worked at least five innings without allowing a run.
Chinese Taipei did not record a hit off of Funkhouser until it got a leadoff single in the fifth. That marked the first hit allowed by the U.S. pitching staff in 16.0 innings of work, dating back to the seventh inning against Japan on Friday.
Andrew Moore (Oregon State) would add 2.1 scoreless frames of his own before A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the 4-0 victory.
Offensively, Nick Banks (Texas A&M) paced the Team USA with a pair of RBI singles while Christin Stewart (Tennessee) recorded the squad’s first two extra-base hits during Honkbal Week with two doubles and Alex Bregman (LSU) added a 2-for-3 effort with a pair of stolen bases.
After being shutout in its opening game at Honkbal Week and waiting until the ninth inning to score in its second contest, Team USA wasted precious little time getting on the scoreboard on Monday, jumping ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Dansby Swanson (Vanderbilt) drew a leadoff walk and promptly stole second. Stewart then swatted an RBI double down the right-field line for Team USA’s first extra-base hit of the tournament and the early lead.
With Funkhouser cruising on the mound, the U.S. added to its advantage in the bottom of the fourth when Bryan Reynolds (Vanderbilt) and Banks both punched home runs with RBI singles to center. Banks would add an insurance run with another RBI base hit in the sixth and that would prove to be more than enough for the U.S. pitching staff.
The Collegiate National Team will begin the second half of the double round-robin portion of the Haarlem-Honkbal Week tournament on Tuesday against Japan. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) at Pim Mulier Stadium with Cal State Fullerton right-hander Justin Garza set to get the start on the mound for Team USA.