Doug Kroll continues his preview of the top players for the 2008 season. This week he checks in on the top first basemen with Brett Wallace (Arizona State) taking the top spot. Wallace had a tremendous 2007 season where he was named the PAC-10 player of the year and led the Sun Devils to the College World Series. Dustin Ackley (UNC) is put into the second position but is the only sophomore listed on Kroll’s top five. Justin Smoak (South Carolina) comes in at the third spot which is a surprise as he will be a top five pick in the 2008 draft. Yonder Alonso (Miami FL) and David Copper (Cal) round out the top five. The CBB thinks Allan Dykstra (Wake Forest) should be considered a top five player but who should get off the list though? The full article is available here.
The Cal Bears released their 2008 schedule recently which is highlighted by taking part in a tournament in San Diego where they will take on USD, Fresno State, SDSU, and Missouri. They will play a full Pac-10 schedule with UCLA, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon State visiting Berkley while Washington State, USC, Arizona State, and Stanford will welcome the Bears to their stadiums. The full schedule is available here.
FROM USA BASEBALL
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS— Team USA (25-11, 4-3 WPT) was beat for the second time by Chinese Taipei (4-4 WPT) at the World Port Tournament, 1-0, forcing the Americans to have to beat first place Cuba on Saturday to advance to Sunday’s finals. If they lose on Saturday, their summer is over.
The Americans forced one last rally in the ninth inning off of Wei-Hua Lee, who finished with a complete game four-hitter. Tommy Medica (Santa Clara) had a one-out pinch-hit single, before a two-out bunt base hit by Danny Espinosa (Long Beach State) in front of the plate, followed by a walk, loaded the bases. But Petey Paramore (Arizona State) struck out on a 2-2 pitch to give the Taiwanese the victory.
Lee worked his magic all day long, retiring 10 in a row early, and then another nine in a row into the eighth inning.
Tyson Ross (4-1, California) lost for the first time this summer, pitching seven-plus innings, giving up one run on six hits. He put runners on base in seven of the eight innings, but got 13 groundball outs. With a runner on base in the eighth, Brett Hunter (Pepperdine) came on and struck out the side.
Ryan Flaherty’s (Vanderbilt) hit in the fifth, the 3500th hit in the tournament’s history, broke a string of 10 in a row retired by Lee, and loaded the bases for the first of two times. Two walks followed Flaherty, before Jordy Mercer (Oklahoma State) struck out to end the threat and keep Taipei up 1-0.
A one-out triple by Chien-Yu Kuo came around to score on a groundout to give Taipei a 1-0 lead in the first.
Ryan Flaherty’s single in the fifth inning was the 3500th hit in the tournament’s 22-year, 11-time history… Standings heading into tonight’s game between Cuba and the Netherlands are the Cubans are 6-0, Japan is 0-7 and the Netherlands is 3-3… Netherlands will need to win twice and have Team USA lose to Cuba in order to get into the Finals… The Americans won four of five from Chinese Taipei in the States and lost the first game at the World Port Tournament, 10-5… Jordan Danks has hit safely in the last six World Port Games… games can be followed live on the internet at http://www.worldporttournament.nl/… Stats are available at: http://utopia.ision.nl/users/hwede/stats07/wpt07/ and under live scoring.
The Americans will close out the summer with a game against Cuba (8 a.m. Eastern). The Finals between the first place team, currently Cuba (6-0) and the second place team are on August 12 at 7 a.m, Eastern, finishing the summer for the Americans.
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS— Team USA (23-8, 2-0 at World Port Tournament) posted their third-straight shutout of the summer, defeating host Netherlands (1-1 at World Port) 11-0 on Saturday evening behind Tyson Ross (4-0, California) and a sellout crowd of 3,000 at Neptunus Stadium.
Ross, who has yet to allow a run in two starts and 14 innings against the Dutch, went seven scoreless innings, giving up eight hits, while striking out four. Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) homered and went 2-for-3, while Jordan Danks (Texas) was 3-for-4 in the eight-inning, run shorted game.
Team USA scored three runs early, as a first inning, bases loaded single by Logan Forsythe (Arkansas), followed by a double play ball gave Team USA a 2-0 lead before Ross even took the mound. Danny Espinosa’s (Long Beach State) single in the second inning upped the lead 3-0.
Team USA then broke the game open in the fifth, scoring three times to lead 6-0. A home run by Alvarez (5) started the inning, before a misplayed Justin Smoak (South Carolina) double over the head of centerfielder Dirk van’t Klooster scored two and gave the Americans a 6-0 lead.
Diegomar Markwell gave up six runs on nine hits over five and one-third innings for the loss, as the Americans added four runs in the seventh to lead 9-0.
It was Ross’ second start against the Netherlands, pitching seven shutout innings of two-hit, eight-strikeout baseball on July 28 in Durham, NC… The game was called after eight innings after the Americans scored two runs in the top of the inning, based on the international mercy rule (10-run lead after seven innings)… Dutch starter, Diegomar Markwell, is the cousin of Atlanta Brave centerfielder Andruw Jones, another member of the national team… The Americans had more hits in their first two at-bats, then in all of their opening game against Japan (1)… Team USA is 22-4 all-time against the Netherlands… with Japan’s 3-1 loss to Chinese Taipei earlier today, the Japanese fell to 0-3 in the tournament… games can be followed live on the internet by clicking here… Stats are available here.
The Americans will play Chinese Taipei on Sunday (1 p.m. Eastern), and Cuba on Monday (8 a.m.) to finish off the first round of competition… another set of four games starts on August 7, before the Finals on August 12.
DURHAM, NC— Tyson Ross (3-0, California) took a no-hitter into the sixth, striking out eight over seven innings in leading Team USA (19-7) to a 14-0 victory over the Netherlands in the first of a three-game, two-day series. Ross allowed just two hits while walking none, in his first appearance since the Gold Medal Game eight days ago.
Brett Wallace (Arizona State) drove in five with a three-run home run and a two-run double, while Ryan Flaherty (Vanderbilt) went 3-for-5 with four RBIs a day after turning 21 years old. Roger Kieschnick (Texas Tech) went 3-for-4, as the trio all hit home runs.
Flaherty, Kieschnick and Jordan Danks (Texas) all hit home runs as part of an eight-run eighth inning.
Ross was perfect through the first 14 batters, before an error by second baseman Ryan Flaherty allowed the first Dutch base runner to reach base in the fifth. Ross finished off the inning by striking out the side. Ross’ no-hit bid was broken up an inning later, by Danny Rombley, with a one-out base hit to center field.
Five of the Americans first six runs came with two outs to give them a 6-0 lead after three.
The Americans tallied back-to-back, two-out RBI singles from Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) and Kieschnick to take a 2-0 lead in the first. Wallace’s two-out, two-run single in the second then made it 4-0.
A Kieshnick homer in the third gave the Americans a 5-0 lead in the third, before a two-out, RBI double from Josh Romanski (San Diego) made it 6-0. Dutch righthander Rob Cordemans gave up six runs on seven hits over the first two and two-third innings.
Wallace’s homer in the eighth made it 9-0, after reliever Diegomar Markwell pitched four and one-third scoreless innings. Wallace’s blast was one of three homers and eight runs in the inning, as Flaherty added a three-run shot and Danks followed with a solo shot.
It was second baseman Ryan Flaherty’s 21st birthday last night… shortstop Danny Espinosa made a nice play off the glove of Ross in the first inning to rob Dirk van’t Klooster of a base hit… these same two teams will play in Holland in Rotterdam starting next week at the World Port Tournament… the four home runs was a summer-high… high school senior Tyler Stovall, a Team USA junior team invitee, pitched the ninth inning.
The nine-game American trip will continue with the Netherlands on Sunday in Cary (morning game at 11 a.m.), and Durham (afternoon game at 5 p.m.), before closing out with and Russia on Monday (one night game) in Cary, NC at 7 p.m… the team closes out their schedule at the World Port Tournament in the Netherlands starting on August 2.
Kendall Rogers of Rivals.com checks in with an article about Team USA and how successful the team has been this summer. They are currently in the midst of a five-game set against China coming off a silver medal finish in the Pan-Am Games. Before the Pan-Am Games, Team USA dropped a five game series to Japan which is the first time the National team had dropped a series to Japan. They will head to the World Port Tournament in Holland after finishing their series with China, Netherlands, and Russia over the next three weeks.
Starting Pitcher Tyson Ross (Cal-Berkeley) of Team USA is having a solid summer with a 2-0 record and a 1.19 ERA. The Cal Sports Quarterly has written an excellent article about how Ross came through the Cal Baseball Camps as a youngster and is now pitching for his favorite team.
Team USA picked up a 5-1 victory over the Dominican Republic to open up pool play. Tyson Ross (Cal) started on the mound and kept the Dominican offense off balance with solid off-speed stuff and a good fastball. He lasted 6.2 innings while giving up four hits and one run while striking out seven batters. Logan Forsythe (Arkansas) went 3-4 with an RBI while Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) went 2-5 with an RBI to lead Team USA offense. The Dominican team consisted of former major league players in Jose Offerman, Raul Mondesi, Delvi Cruz, Enrique Wilson, and Luis Polonia.
Team USA will be back in action on Monday when they play Nicaragua and will play Brazil on Tuesday in the final game of group play.
Team USA picked up a 7-2 victory over Japan in the opener of a five game series between the countries. The USA team was led by a strong start from Tyson Ross (Cal) who threw seven innings while only allowing two runs on six hits and a walk. The offense was led by Pedro Alvarez (Vanderbilt) who had a homer in the first inning while going 2-3 with two RBI with three runs scored. Team USA and Japan will play on Thursday in Kannapolis NC before heading back to Durham for the remainder of the series. The games in Durham are webcasted through USA Baseball.
Team USA Recap