By John Manuel
July 6, 2005
USA Baseball’s college national team opened its summer tour by sweeping three games from New England Collegiate League teams before heading to the Far East for five-game series in Japan and Taiwan.
Left fielder Jon Jay (Miami), one of three players to start each NECBL game, led the team with five hits and four runs scored. He drove in the first run in the tour-opening 3-1 win against Torrington. Righthander Kyle McCulloch (Texas) earned the victory on the mound in that one, allowing a run on six hits over five innings.
First baseman Matt LaPorta (Florida), who also has started all three games, hit two of Team USA’s four home runs in a 7-0 win against Keene. J.P. Arencibia (Tennessee) and Matt Wieters (Georgia Tech) also homered in the game. Righthander Ian Kennedy (Southern California) struck out seven batters in five hitless innings to earn the win, though Keene broke up the no-hitter in the sixth against reliever Max Scherzer (Missouri).
Josh Rodriguez (Rice), who started one game at shortstop and one at third base, hit a ninth-inning home run to give Team USA a 7-6 win against Newport in the final game in New England. The national team scored six times in the first inning before Newport, powered by two home runs from Cyle Hankerd (Southern California), tied the game in the bottom of the eighth.
Righthander Chris Perez (Miami) earned the win by working 1 2/3 hitless innings. He also notched a save in the Torrington game.
Outfielder Drew Stubbs (Texas) and DH Sean Doolitte (Virginia) ranked behind Jay with three hits apiece. Seven of the 10 Team USA pitchers who took the mound did not allow a run, with Kennedy the only starter among that group. At one point, they went 17 innings without allowing a run.
The Japan Friendship series takes place June 7-12 in Osaka, Kumano and Tokyo, while all game against Taiwan from June 15-19 will be held in Tainan.