VIDEO: Scott Brosius and Cavan Biggio
DURHAM, N.C. - Cavan Biggio's fifth-inning grand slam gave the Stripes their first lead of the Prospect Classic but the Stars rallied from a two-run deficit to salvage a 6-6 tie at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Tuesday.
"The game was much more competitive and I really liked the energy we had in the dugout," Stripes manager Scott Brosius said. "It was a lot more positive way to finish this phase of the training with a much sharper game.
"(Mixing the rosters) has its set of challenges and it also has set of benefits, but I think it is a great thing for the (18U) guys to see the college guys and be around them to see what that next level is."
Biggio closed out the Prospect Classic with a strong performance at the plate for the Stripes, going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, a run scored and four RBIs. On the other side of the diamond, Michael Conforto (Oregon State) was 3-for-4 and knocked in three runs for the Stars.
"(The grand slam) felt great," Biggio said. "I was just trying to get the flyball out to drive in the run but got a good pitch and took it and it went over the fence.
"The (Prospect Classic) was great. Getting the opportunity to represent your country is always an honor and it has been fun."
On the mound, Jake Reed (Oregon) fired two shutout frames of relief for the Stripes, while starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (North Carolina State) struck out five in his three innings of work.
Seven different Stars pitchers - Keegan Thompson, Stephen Gonsalves, Dominic Taccolini, Carson Sands, Billy Roth, Garrett Williams and Connor Heady -- each tossed a scoreless inning in the contest.
Picking up right where they left off in the previous two games of the Prospect Classic, the Stars scored twice in both the first and third innings to race out to a solid 4-0 lead. Facing CNT teammate Rodon, Conforto punched a 3-1 offering right back up the middle to get the scoring started with a two-RBI single.
Just two innings later, Conforto came through again, roping a run-scoring double down the right-field line for his third RBI of the game. Austin Cousino (Kentucky) then dropped a single into right to bring Kris Bryant (San Diego) around to score from second to push the score to 4-0 in favor of the Stars.
That lead would evaporate in just five short batters though, as the Stripes struck for five runs in the top of the fifth, capped off by Biggio's grand slam as he followed a bases-loaded walk with a blast into the seats in right. His longball gave the Stripes a 5-4 lead, their first lead of the Prospect Classic.
The Stripes added another tally in the very next stanza when Riley Unroe poked an RBI single into right to make it a two-run advantage at 6-4.
The Stars refused to back down, however, returning the contest to a deadlock with a run in both the seventh and eighth innings. Adam Frazier (Mississippi State) scored the first run in that series as he led off the seventh with a single, moved to third on a pair of productive outs and then came home on a throwing error.
Now trailing by just one, the Stars used a hustle play to get things started in the eighth as Cousino legged out a leadoff double on a bloop to shallow left. A groundout then moved him up to third before Chris Okey knocked him in with a double over the head of the rightfielder.
That would be where the score would stay for the remainder of the contest as Daniel Berg (UCLA) and Connor Heady pitched scoreless ninth innings for the Stripes and Stars, respectively.
With the Prospect Classic now complete, the Collegiate National Team will prepare to open the international portion of its schedule later this week. The squad will travel to Havana to take on Cuba in an international friendly series at Latin American Stadium, July 5-9. The team will then make the trek to the Netherlands to participate in Honkbal Week in Haarlem, July 14-22.
Members of the 18U squad, meanwhile, will disperse back to their respective hometowns before reconvening in Los Angeles, Aug. 17 where they will participate in phase two of National Team Trials. The team will then travel to Seoul, South Korea, to compete in the IBAF Junior AAA/18U World Championships, Aug. 30-Sept. 8.