U.S. defeats Puerto Rico, 7-4
Brett Jackson and Todd Frazier each launch 3-run HRs
Brett Jackson led all U.S. hitters, going 3-for-4, including a three-run home run in the sixth inning with Team USA leading, 4-3. Todd Frazier also hit a three-run shot, his highlighting a four-run second inning for the United States.
U.S. starter Todd Redmond (1-0) picked up where he left off as an ace with the gold medal-winning 2009 World Cup Team, going five and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out four for the win. Tim Collins and Justin De Fratus combined for three and one-third innings of three-hit, one-run (none earned) relief.
The three-run blasts from Jackson and Frazier were the headlines for Team USA, as all of its runs came in the decisive second and sixth innings. Brad Eldred opened the second frame with a stand-up triple, and first baseman Eric Hosmer followed with a four-pitch walk. Frazier, a top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization, then hit the first pitch he saw from Puerto Rico starter Hiram Burgos over the left field fence to put the U.S. ahead 3-0. Later in the inning, Mike Trout lined a shot to left-center - hitting the wall in nearly the same place Eldred did earlier in the inning - and legged out a triple of his own on a close play at third, eventually scoring on the play via an errant relay by the shortstop.
Puerto Rico came back to within one, pushing a run across in the top of the fourth and two more in its half of the sixth, but in the bottom sixth frame, the U.S. put the game away for good. Frazier and Kratz led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and Trout executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. Two batters later Jackson unloaded on an Efrain Nieves offering to right-center to push Team USA to a 7-3 lead.
De Fratus allowed one unearned run in the ninth as Puerto Rico attempted to mount a rally, but the right-hander got Neftali Soto to ground out to first to end the game.
Burgos (0-1) took the loss for Puerto Rico, and Jorge Padilla and Gabriel Martinez led all hitters for the host nation, both going 2-for-4.
The U.S. (1-0) next faces Aruba (0-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night in Ponce.
Live scoring for all U.S. games will be available at www.USABaseball.com, the online home for USA Baseball. Please visit the site for schedule and roster information, tournament updates and more. Overall tournament information can be found by clicking here. Saturday night's box score, cumulative stats and play-by-play are attached.
OPENING GAME TRENDS: Team USA lost the opener of the 2009 IBAF World Cup, a 13-9 loss to Venezuela, in extra-innings. Team USA went onto win its next 14 games en route to the 2009 IBAF World Cup gold medal. Team USA is 4-2 in its last six professional team tournament openers dating back to 2006.
COACHES CORNER: Former major leaguer Ernie Young begins his first stint as Manager of Team USA. Young was a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team that won gold in Sydney, Australia and also served on the Team USA coaching staffs at the 2009 IBAF World Cup in Europe (gold) and the 2003 Olympic Qualifier in Panama.
ACTION JACKSON: Brett Jackson, who led Team USA with a .545 batting average during training camp in Cary, N.C., continued his torrid hitting going 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and a three-run home run in the sixth inning. Jackson is an outfield prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization and attended and played baseball at Cal-Berkeley.
SMOKIN TODD FRAZIER: Cincinnati Reds prospect Todd Frazier put Team USA on the board with a three-run blast to left in the second inning. Frazier finished the night 2-for-4 with a HR, three RBIs and two runs scored. Frazier was the winning pitcher in the 1998 Little League World Series for champion Toms River, N.J., in Williamsport, Pa.
ACE RETURNS: U.S. starter Todd Redmond who went 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in three starts for the 2009 World Cup gold medal team pitched 5.2 innings giving up 2 earned runs while striking out four and walking only one in his second stint with team USA.
NOTEABLE FANS IN ATTENDANCE: Former scout and Puerto Rican League star Jorge Posada, Sr., father of Yankee catcher and Puerto Rico native Jorge Posada, and former Chicago Bulls GM Jerry Krause were in attendance at tonight's game.
TODAY'S OTHER ACTION:
Colombia 9 - Aruba 2
Venezuela 4 - Argentina 0
Canada 7 - Nicaragua 6
Cuba vs. Netherlands - Postponed
Panama vs. Dominican Republic - Late