USA closes Pool Play with 8-2 victory
The defending champs to play for gold Sunday in Nettuno
Ike Davis got the scoring started for Team USA in the second inning. Davis hit his fourth home run of the 2009 Baseball World Cup to right-center field off of Netherlands starter Diegomar Markwell.
The U.S. broke the game open in the sixth inning, scoring six runs with two outs. With the bases loaded, Buck Coats hit a two-RBI single to right field to score Pedro Alvarez and Josh Kroeger. Justin Smoak followed with a two-RBI single of his own through the right side that preceded an errant throw from the right fielder to clear the bases for Team USA. Jon Weber tallied the final RBI of the inning with a single to right-center to put the U.S. up 7-0. Tug Hulett tripled to lead off the eighth inning, and Coats pushed the eighth and final U.S. run across with a sacrifice fly to right.
USA starter Kasey Kiker (1-0) earned his first win of the 2009 Baseball World Cup, pitching six innings of one-hit baseball and striking out six batters. Geno Espinelli surrendered two earned runs in his one inning of relief before Jason Childers and Nate Field closed out the game for the Red, White and Blue.
Coats led all U.S. hitters, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Alvarez, Davis and Weber each had two hits.
Team USA will have the day off on Saturday before playing in its second consecutive World Cup gold-medal game. The defending champs will play for its fourth gold medal on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 3 p.m. (9 a.m. ET).
Team USA will make its 12th appearance in a Baseball World Cup gold-medal game on Sunday. The U.S. has won the Baseball World Cup three times, in 1973, 1974 and 2007.
Before Friday's game, Team USA visited the Sicily-Rome American Memorial Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy. The site, where more than 7,000 American soldiers who gave their lives in World War II are laid to rest, was an eye opening experience for Team USA.
"It was very impressionable", said U.S. manager Eddie Rodriguez. "A site all of us Americans should be sure to visit if they are ever over in this part of Europe."