Team USA Offense Explodes In Series Finale
The offense for USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team put on a rout of Cuba with 18 hits in a 10-2 win to cap off their five-game series. The win gave Team USA their fourth win of the series, the first time that has happened since 2013.
Following a tough walk-off loss on Friday night, head coach Dan McDonnell made sure his team would be ready to bounce back for the finale.
“We talked about it last night; it hurts when you lose, especially on a walk-off in the ninth," McDonnell said. "I just challenged the guys (and said), 'Let's bounce back.'"
The offense was ready to accept the challenge as they exploded for four runs in the second inning and then added three more runs in both the fifth and seventh innings. Every batter in the starting lineup reached base at least once, and eight of nine starters got at least one hit.
“I thought we took great at-bats all week against guys who knew how to pitch," McDonnell said. "We had a lot of good at-bats, especially with two strikes (and) situational hitting. That it what it takes to win overseas."
After the game, Colten Cowser of Sam Houston State was awarded series MVP. Although he was the one starter held hitless in the series finale, the freshman still tallied seven hits in 16 at-bats during the five-game series.
“(I’m) just not trying to go up there and do too much," Cowser said. "Not trying to look for a perfect pitch. Just go up there and try to hit the ball hard, and that is what I have been doing this past week."
Coming into the summer, Cowser had a goal to improve his patience at the plate and he showcased that this week. He managed to pair four walks with those seven hits. His second inning leadoff walk on Saturday kick-started the scoring outburst.
“It’s something that me and my coaches back home at Sam Houston talked about in the beginning of summer," Cowser said. "Something that I needed to work on was plate discipline, and I think it has benefited me in pretty much all my aspects at the plate. I’m either walking or hitting the ball hard."
When asked what it meant to be named MVP of the series, Cowser made it clear that he is not here for individual goals.
“It’s pretty cool, but I am not going out there to play for myself," he said. "I am out there playing for these guys, wearing this jersey, playing for this country and just trying to have fun with it."
The Collegiate National Team will now head overseas to Taiwan to face Chinese Taipei in another five-game series.