USA defeats Carolina Cubs, 11-4
Mercado-Hood's 3-for-3 night sparks the offense to 11 runs
CARY, N.C. -- The 16U National Team defeats the Carolina Cubs, 11-4, at Duke University in its first exhibition game to prepare for the IBAF World 'AA'/16U Youth Championships.
USA started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Austin Meadows advanced to home on a throw to catch Zack Collins stealing, giving USA a 1-0 lead. It would add to its lead in the bottom of the fourth when it scored four more to go up 5-0. In the inning, Hunter Mercado-Hood led off with a walk and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Tyler Alamo. He would later score on an RBI single by Dom Nunez.
In the bottom of the seventh, USA would add five runs to its lead to go up 10-0. In the inning, Mercado-Hood had a triple and Collins had a home run to center field. The home run was the first hit by a USA player in trials or an exhibition game. USA had four total hits in the inning and one walk.
USA would add one more run in the bottom of the eighth inning on a throwing error by the pitcher to take an 11-0 lead. The Carolina Cubs avoided being shut out in the final inning when in the top of the ninth it took advantage of three walks and an error to score four runs on only two hits to cut the lead to seven, 11-4. That score would be final when the umpires called the game due to lightning with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Keegan Thompson received the win for USA, going two scoreless innings on the mound, while Will Gilbert took the loss for the Carolina Cubs. USA had four pitchers throw two scoreless innings: Thompson, Carson Sands, Joe DeMers, and Chris Pelaez. Mercado-Hood lead all USA hitters going 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk, two RBIs and three runs scored.
ALMOST BEAT THE RAIN: The game was scheduled to go a full nine innings regardless of who was in the lead. One out into the bottom of the ninth, lightning forced the game to be called.
INTERNATIONAL TIE BREAKER: The two teams were scheduled to practice the international tie breaker rules tonight. Due to the rain, the 16U National Team will be practicing the tie breaker rules on Tuesday.
PELAEZ PLEASES: Pitcher Chris Pelaez recorded six outs total in his two innings of work, but five of his six outs came via the strikeout. He only allowed one hit in that span.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: The 16U National Team is playing their home games at Duke University instead of the National Training Complex to practice playing on an all turf field. Duke's field is similar to the type of field that the games in Lagos de Moreno will be played at.
WHAT'S NEXT: The team has two workouts scheduled for tomorrow. The first is at 9 a.m. at Duke University. The second is at 5 p.m. at the NTC. If changes to this schedule occur, they will be announced on the team's twitter: @USABaseball16U.