Collegiate National Team Wraps Up Sweep Of Chinese Taipei
CARY, N.C. — Five games. Five wins.
That was the story for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team as it completed a five-game series sweep of Chinese Taipei Monday afternoon, defeating its foe by a final score of 4-1 in the series finale. The victory was the sixth in six days by Team USA, with the other win coming against the Coastal Plain League Select Team. In the five-game series sweep of Chinese Taipei, the collegiate national team allowed only seven runs against its international opponent, with manager Paul Mainieri coming away notably pleased by his team’s pitching.
“Thought our pitching was really outstanding,” Mainieri said. “I thought we pitched great the whole week.”
Monday's victory was bittersweet for Mainieri, however, because it meant he had to say goodbye to some of his players. With just 24 roster spots open for his squad’s series with the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars and only 26 slots for the team’s upcoming trip to Cuba, eight players likely played their last game with the national team on Monday.
“The boys that we send home don’t deserve to be sent home,” Mainieri said. “We’re gonna send some kids home that were perfect while they were here. So it’s really just up to the coaching staff to kind of predict which kids would have the best chance to be successful against Japan and Cuba, with their stuff. It’s a hard day to let these kids home because you spend a week with them.”
One of the young men who did not make the final roster is Patrick Bailey, who had an outstanding performance against Chinese Taipei in the series finale. Bailey went 2-for-4, including a bases-clearing double to give the United States a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Bailey's two hits on Monday were his first with the national team, and he went 2-for-8 in the five-game series.
“It’s always nice to barrel some balls up, first time since I’ve been here,” Bailey said with a laugh. “It’s a good feeling, but it’s cool to get those big hits for this team.”
Unfortunately for Bailey, who just wrapped up his freshman season at N.C. State, he was edged out by two other catchers — Shea Langeliers of Baylor and Adley Rutschman of Oregon State. Langeliers was named the Most Valuable Player of the series after contributing three hits and an RBI, while Rutschman hit .408 with 83 RBIs as a sophomore for the College World Series-winning Beavers.
At N.C. State, Bailey finished second on the team in hitting with a .321 average, hit 13 home runs, knocked in 40 RBIs and led the Wolfpack with a .604 slugging percentage. Now, Bailey is focused on next season and will use what he learned with the collegiate national team to help N.C. State in 2019.
“We got a lot of new pitchers coming into (N.C.) State that I’ll have to work with and figure out how to get the best out of people,” Bailey said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things, I got to learn how to be a leader behind the plate and get the best out of everybody—the pitchers and position players.”
While Bailey will not compete with Team USA for the rest of the summer, his future is certainly bright and he could very well find himself back in Cary competing again next year.
USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team will now turn its attention to facing a tough Japanese squad. The teams will engage in a five-game affair, starting Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.