“(Gwak) noticed that we are really aggressive fastball hitters,” Hankins said. “So he would come in soft with the changeup or curveballs–even in 3-1 or 3-2 counts without a base open. And that was pretty impressive. Because I for sure don’t think I would have done that.”

Eventually, Team USA found a way to crack Gwak, but it needed help. Michael Siani reached on an error, Jarred Kelenic singled and Anthony Seigler was hit by a pitch. A passed ball allowed Siani to score the first run, and then in the ninth the U.S. made it 2-0 on Nolan Gorman’s double followed by Brice Turang’s RBI single through the middle.

Tennessee lefthander Ryan Weathers worked 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Hankins, striking out four and walking two, and Mississippi righthander J.T. Ginn entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth–with two runners on–to strike out Korean center fielder Junhwan Jang (who entered the game with a .429/.556/.857 triple slash) on four pitches to ensure a spot in the gold medal game.

Before that, though, Team USA has one more Super Round matchup. On Saturday the Americans will take on Australia, again at 9 a.m. ET, with California righthander Brandon Dieter scheduled to start.

We want to win first and foremost,” Stankiewicz said. “We want to take the field with a desire to get a W, so we’ll do that. But at the same time, we have to make sure we’re in the best possible position going into Sunday’s game. One of the reasons that we brought Brandon was for this possibility. An innings-eater, a guy who can come in and pound the zone.

“He’s obviously a really good pitcher, so it’s not like we’re losing anything (with him on the mound). We’ll just try to get some small innings of work out of the bullpen, just so we can try to make sure guys are in a good spot for Sunday.”

Before that, though, team USA has to catch up on something.

“We’re gonna take a few naps,” Hankins said “And probably going to hit the sack early.”