LOWELL, Mass. – Andrew Vaughn drove in a run and scored once, while Grant Koch collected two hits as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team fell to Japan, 5-4, on Saturday in the third game of the 41st USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from LeLacheur Park. The U.S. now trails the best-of-five series 2-1.
With the U.S. leading 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Japan would score three runs to take a one-run advantage heading into the final inning. Taishi Kusumoto tied the game with a two-run triple to right field, then Japan scored the go-ahead run on a Ryosuke Tatsumi sacrifice fly to right field.
Japan scored a run in the bottom of the first inning to start the game but the U.S. responded with a run in the top of second inning when Cadyn Grenier hit a line drive over the left fielder’s head for a double to bring in Koch who led off the inning with a walk.
After allowing a run in the bottom of the second inning, The United States grabbed its first lead of the game in the top of the third with a pair of runs to make the score 3-2. Vaughn hit a single to center field to score Nick Madrigal, who led off the frame with a double, and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right field off the bat of Braden Shewmake.
The United States pushed its lead to 4-2 in the top of the fourth inning as Steele Walker ripped a double to straight-away center field to plate Travis Swaggerty.
Starting pitcher Konnor Pilkington tossed 4.0 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits with four strikeouts. Sean Wymer suffered the loss allowing three runs on three hits in 4.0 innings with four strikeouts. Pilkington and Wymer combined to retire 14-straight batters from the second inning into the sixth inning.
The U.S. team ended the game with four runs on six hits with one error, while Japan finished with five runs on six hits and two errors.
The United States will play game four of the 41st USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. from Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The series against Japan is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.