UCLA rising junior right-hander Gerrit Cole allowed one run (unearned) and two hits through four pre-determined innings to earn his second victory in as many starts this summer, leading the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team past Chinese Taipei, 6-3, at Hsinchuang Field on Tuesday.
Cole (2-0) struck out four batters and issued two walks in this third appearance – his second start – of the summer. He improved his career record to 6-0 with Team USA. The right-hander from Santa Ana, Calif., has logged a 0.75 ERA, totaling 13 strikeouts and two walks in 12.0 innings for the Collegiate National Team in 2010.
In Team USA’s 6-3 win over Chinese Taipei, catcher Pete O’Brien (Bethune Cookman) belted his fourth home run of the summer and drove in two runs, going 2-for-4 with one run. O’Brien’s fielder’s choice RBI in the fourth inning broke a 1-1 tie, as Team USA led the rest of the way.
George Springer (Connecticut) opened the fourth inning with a single to right field and moved to second base when Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) was hit by a pitch. Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt) advanced both baserunners with a sacrifice bunt toward first base before Springer sprinted home on O’Brien’s groundout.
Matt Barnes (Connecticut) threw four innings in relief of Cole, allowing two runs and two hits while striking out six batters. Noe Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) recorded his team-leading fourth save by throwing a perfect ninth inning, notching one strikeout.
Drew Maggi (Arizona State) scored on a wild pitch in the first inning, staking Team USA to a 1-0 advantage. Maggi drew a leadoff walk before stealing second. Nolan Fontana (Florida) walked, putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Jackie Bradley, Jr. (South Carolina) moved both runners up 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt prior to Maggi scoring during Ryan Wright’s (Louisville) at-bat.
Chinese Taipei tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the first inning when Wei-Ting Lin scored on a passed ball with two outs. Lin singled to right, advanced to second when outfielder Mikie Mahtook (LSU) misplayed the ball. Chen-Yu Hung pushed Lin to third base on a groundout back to Cole, setting up the tying run.
O’Brien crushed a towering solo home run down the left field line in the sixth inning, pushing Team USA’s cushion to 3-1.
Run-scoring singles by Bradley, Jr. and Nick Ramirez highlighted a three-run seventh inning for Team USA.
Chinese Taipei plated a pair of runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning, reducing the Collegiate National Team’s lead to 6-3.
Chuang-Ju Liao suffered the loss for Chinese Taipei, allowing two runs and three hits in three innings. Hao Chiu allowed one run, and Hung-Cheng Lai gave up three runs each in an inning of work. Yu-Hsun Chen and Yu-Ching Lin tossed two hitless innings in relief.
Team USA will look to even the series on Wednesday, when the two teams square-off in the final game of the four-game international friendly series. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 a.m. (PT).