Team USA Posts Comeback Win Against Japan
DURHAM, NC - The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team scored five runs in the seventh inning for a comeback victory, 7-6, over Japan Sunday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Overall, Team USA overcame a five-run deficit, chipping away at the lead with a run in the fifth and then took advantage of two Japan errors in the seventh for the come-from-behind victory.
Marcus Stroman of Duke picked up his third save of the summer after coming on in the eighth, shutting the door on a Japan rally, forcing a strikeout and groundout that stranded the winning run at second. He worked a perfect ninth to preserve the win.
Dominic Ficociello of Arkansas drove in two on a single to right in the seventh to tie the game, 6-6. He scored what amounted to the game-winning run on a single by Chris Elder of Oral Roberts to score from frist. The ball skipped past the center fielder, enabling Elder to move to third, where he was stranded to end the inning.
Deven Marrero of Arizona State drove in the first run of the inning on a double down the right field line, then advanced to third when Nolan Fontana of Florida scored on a liner to left that was dropped by the left fielder. That led to Ficociello's game-tying single later on the inning.
Down, 1-0, Japan took the lead in the fifth, and gave itself cushion, scoring six runs in the frame. Hotaka Yamakawa hit the first pitch he saw from Team USA starter Mark Appel of Stanford over the left-center fence for a grand slam and at the time, a five-run lead.
That, however, was the only inning Japan was able to score as Team USA kept the club off the scoreboard the rest of the game.
Appel started and was touched for six runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. He gave up five hits while striking out seven and walking two.
Appel's counterpart, Yusuke Nomura, worked five innings. He struck out three, walked two and allowed two runs on three hits.
Tomoyuki Sugano took the loss after allowing two hits and a run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Andrew Mitchell of Texas Christian, meanwhile, improved to 2-0 after an inning of relief. He walked one and struck out three in the seventh inning.
Marrero and Elder paced Team USA with two hits apiece. Marrero drove in two, with the first coming in the fifth on a single.
Team USA and Japan continue the series Monday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM. Kevin Gausman of LSU gets the start for Team USA.