Team USA Wins Opening Game In Japanese Series, 7-2
Courtesy of USA Baseball
June 23, 2001
Okinawa, Japan - The USA Baseball National Team (2-0) jumped out to an early lead an never looked back, as they defeated the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars7-2 in the first game of the 30th Annual USA vs Japan Collegiate All-StarSeries Saturday afternoon at Urazoe Citizens Park in Okinawa.
Sparked by a pre-game speech from legendary coach Rod Dedeaux, it was thefirst time that Team USA has won the opening game of this series in Japansince 1988, when the Americans were victorious 5-4 in 11 innings. Dedeauxthrew out the ceremonial first pitch, following a moment of silence in honorof the men and women of both countries who gave their lives in World War Two.Baseball on this island of Okinawa had never been played between the twocountries, until today.
Team USA relief pitcher Bobby Browlie (RHP, So, Rutgers) was dominant in 5.2innings behind starter Kiki Bengochea (RHP, So, Miami). Brownlie (2-0) didnot allow a hit while fanning six, to earn the victory, his second in as manygames.
Tulane Green Wave starters Michael Aubrey (OF, Fr, Tulane) and AnthonyGiarratano (IF, Fr, Tulane) provided seven of the 10 American hits in thegame to carry the Red, White and Blue offense.
Team USA took the lead early when Aubrey touched Japanese starter NogisaArakaki for a solo home run to right field with two outs in the top of thefirst inning, to make it 1-0.
Aubrey struck again in the third, when he drove home Javi Herrera (Fr, C,Tennessee) and Giarratano with a two-out, single up the middle to make it3-0. Herrera and Giarratano had both singled to start the frame, and weremoved up on a sacrifice bunt by Sam Fuld (OF, Fr, Stanford).
Japan got to Bengochea in the bottom of the third when the American defensebroke down a bit. Keiichi Hirano coaxed a one-out walk and advanced to thirdon Takashi Toritani's infield single. He then scored on a throwing error byNick Swisher (IF, So, Ohio State). After a hit by Shuichi Murada that putrunners at the corners, Toritani scored on Herrera's throwing error to secondbase, making the score 3-2.
Team USA knocked Arakaki out of the game in the fourth when they loaded thebases off him with an error, a walk, and another single by Giarratano. Butreliever Ryuichi Furakawa got Fuld to immediately hit into a ground balldouble play, getting Japan out of the jam.
Brownlie then relieved Bengochea with one out in the fourth and retired thefinal two hitters - after Bengochea had walked Hiroychi Hashimoto - to keepTeam USA on top. Bengochea worked 3.1 innings, allowing two unearned runs onfour hits while walking three, and took a no-decision. He has now thrown 23.1innings with Team USA dating back to last summer, without allowing an earnedrun.
Jeremy Reed (OF, So, Long Beach State) led off the sixth with a walk, stolesecond and went to third on a throwing error by Japanese catcher Ryo Asai. Hethen scored on a single by Chris Snyder (DH, So, Houston) that made the score4-2.
It stayed that way until the top of the ninth, when Reed connected for athree-run homer down the line off Japanese reliever Shinji Kodama.
Game Two of the Series will be on Sunday, also in Okinawa at 1:00 pm. AnthonyReyes (RHP, So, USC) will get the ball for the Americans.