By Will Kimmey
July 12, 2005
Team USA beat Japan 13-2 to salvage the final game of the 34th College All-Stars series, which previously had been owned by the host nation.
Japan won the first three games of the series by a total of 10 runs, and a rainout lopped one contest off the schedule before the U.S. national team headed to Tainan, Taiwan, for five games. Team USA opened its summer tour by sweeping three games from New England Collegiate League teams and sits at 4-3 on the summer.
Team USA, which was swept by Japan in five games last summer, scored just six runs in three losses this year before exploding offensively in the final game. Matt Wieters (Georgia Tech) drove in two runs with two hits, Blake Davis (Cal State Fullerton) collected three hits and scored twice, and Jon Jay (Miami) totaled two hits and three of his team-leading seven runs scored this summer.
Kyle McCulloch (Texas) earned the national team’s first win against Japan, allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings while notching eight strikeouts. David Price (Vanderbilt) delivered the best pitching performance for Team USA in a 3-1 loss. He held Japan to one run on five hits over seven innings, but reliever Chris Perez (Miami) made a throwing error after fielding an eighth-inning bunt that led to a pair of unearned runs.
Price’s 0.90 ERA after two starts ranks as the best in Team USA’s rotation, while Kevin Gunderson (Oregon State) has not allowed a run in six innings of relief this summer.
Sean Doolittle (Virginia) leads the team with a .462 average thus far, and Hunter Mense (Missouri) ranks first with a .500 on-base percentage.
Florida’s Matt LaPorta still holds first place with eight hits, two home runs and five RBIs, though both homers and four of the RBIs came in 7-0 win against Keene of the NECBL. Shane Robinson (Florida State), the only U.S. player to homer against Japan, also has driven in five runs.
Team USA returns home to play series against Italy and Nicaragua from July 22-Aug. 4 in Durham, N.C.; Pawtucket, R.I.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Myrtle Beach, S.C.