U.S. wins two, plays for bronze Sat.
Team USA beats South Korea and Venezuela on Friday
AGUADULCE, Panama -- Team USA defeated South Korea, 3-1, Friday afternoon at Remon Cantera Stadium in Aguadulce, Panama, in the first game of its doubleheader to keep its hopes alive of playing in the bronze medal game Saturday in Panama City.
The U.S. jumped on South Korea early thanks in part to two of the team's top offensive performers, Brett Jackson and Joe Thurston. Jackson led off the game with a single to left field before stealing second base to put himself in scoring position for Thurston, who hit his team leading tenth RBI to bring Jackson home for the early 1-0 lead.
After a five pitch first inning from Matt Shoemaker to retire the side for the red, white and blue, Tommy Mendonca and Jordan Danks led off the second inning with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with no outs. After Danks stole second and Andrew Garcia was walked to load the bases, Jackson hit a long fly ball to the warning track in right field for the sacrifice fly to give Team USA the lead, 2-0, which is all Shoemaker would need.
Shoemaker would pick up his first win of the tournament with a dominating performance on the mound throwing five shutout innings of one hit baseball, striking out four and only walking one.
South Korea scored in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead in half, 2-1, but a single by Matt Clark scored Andrew Pollock to give Team USA the insurance it needed to as it went on to win, 3-1.
NOTES: The game was shortened to 7 innings due to the rain Thursday to make room for the doubleheader today...With the win Team USA moves to 3-3 in the second round (6-4 overall) which currently puts them in fourth place ahead of Panama...Brett Jackson led off the game with a single and then stole second before he was hit in by Joe Thurston with an RBI single...Thurston now leads the team in RBIs with 10 and hits with 15 while Jackson leads the team in runs scored with 8...Jackson and Thurston have now hit safely in each game this World Cup...Shoemaker picked up his first win of the tournament while doubling the amount of strikeouts he had all tournament with four...Pete Andrelczyk came on in relief of Shoemaker for his first save of the tournament...South Korea is currently ranked third in the world by the IBAF...The last time the U.S. played South Korea was in the 2008 Olympics where they lost 7-8...The Netherlands have guaranteed a spot in the gold medal game set for Saturday with their win over Cuba last night...With this win the U.S. is still in contention for the bronze medal game on Saturday.
Game 2: USA 7, Venezuela 4
AGUADULCE, Panama -- Team USA scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to come back and defeat Venezuela, 7-4, in the second game of its doubleheader at Remon Cantera Stadium.
The U.S. went down early thanks to a Wuillians Vasquez home run in the first inning and an infield error by Todd Redmond in the second inning to give Venezuela the lead, 2-0. The red, white and blue responded in the fourth with a single by Matt Clark to start the inning followed by back-to-back singles by Tommy Mendonca and Brett Carroll which scored Clark to put the U.S. on the board.
Venezuela answered with a run of its own as Vasquez hit his second solo home run of the game to put Venezuela back on top, 3-1. Venezuela would tack on one more in the fifth for the 4-1 lead.
Team USA came up to the plate in the seventh and final inning still trailing by three, but scored six runs to initiate the comeback and take the 7-4 lead. Jordan Danks and Andrew Pollock walked to start the inning followed by a Joe Thurston single to right field to load the bases with one out. In his only hit of the game, Chad Tracy laced a single to score Danks and then Clark came through again with a single of his own to score two more runs and tie the game at 4-4. Jordy Mercer stepped into the batter's box with the game tied and belted a three-run home run to left field to give the U.S. its first lead of the game, 7-4.
Scott Patterson came on in relief for Team USA in the bottom of the seventh and cemented the comeback by shutting down his first three batters in only nine pitches for his second save of the tournament.
By sweeping its double header against South Korea and Venezuela, the U.S. solidified its place in the bronze medal game against Canada which will be held tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT (12:00 pm ET) at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama. This will be the second meeting between these two countries, with Canada winning the first meeting, 6-1.
NOTES: With this win, the U.S. moves to 4-3 in the second round (7-4 overall)...Joe Thurston continued his hitting streak by hitting his team-leading fifth double of the tournament in the first inning...he has now hit safely in all 10 games that he has played in...Thurston also leads the team in batting average (.421), hits (16) and RBIs (10)...he finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles...Brett Carroll recorded his second RBI of the tournament in the fourth inning with a single up the middle...Jordy Mercer hit his second home run of the tournament in style as he hit a three run home run to give the U.S. a 7-4 lead...Justin Cassel picked up his first win of the tournament and Scott Patterson recorded his second save as he shut down Venezuela in the seventh...The U.S. scored six of its seven runs in the top of the seventh to clinch its second victory of the day...Venezuela is currently ranked No. 7 in the world by the IBAF...A U.S. pro team last played Venezuela on Oct. 9, 2010, at the COPABE Pan American Games...the U.S. won the game , 6-3, led by Angel's outfielder Mike Trout who scored two runs and had one RBI.
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