Pedroia Plays Key Role In Team USA Victory

July 12, 2002

NEWPORT, Rhode Island -- Arizona State freshman shortstop Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 with a run scored and plated the game-winning run with a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to help lead the USA Baseball National Team to a 3-2 victory over the Newport Gulls Thursday night at Cardines Field. The victory concluded a six-game sweep of the New England Collegiate League, as Team USA improved their all-time record to 12-0 (over the past three summers) against NECBL opponents.

Team USA starter Kyle Bakker (LHP, So, Georgia Tech) worked 6.2 innings and held the Gulls to two runs (one earned) on four hits, to gain credit for his second win. Chad Cordero (RHP, So, CS Fullerton) hurled two shutout innings of relief, and Bob Zimmermann (RHP, So, SW Missouri State) came on to get the final out of the game, notching his second save.

The Gulls had a pair of base hits and picked up an unearned run in the first inning off Bakker. With two outs, leadoff hitter Bryan Pritz scored when Conor Jackson's (IF, So, California) throw to first base pulled Michael Aubrey (IF, So, Tulane) off the bag. But Team USA responded with a run of their own in the third to tie the score, 1-1. A sacrifice fly to center field by Aubrey brought home Pedroia (IF, Fr. Arizona State), who had led off the frame with a single.

It stayed tied until the fifth when Pritz again gave the Gulls a lead by ripping a two-out, rbi-double down the line in left, scoring David Reaver. The Red, White and Blue responded again by taking advantage of a sudden case of wildness by Gulls starter Rusty Begnaud (0-1), scoring twice without the benefit of a base hit. Carlos Quentin (OF, So, Stanford) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Jackson and Mark Jurich (DH, So, Louisville) each drew bases on balls. One out later, Newport reliever Mark Walters walked Eric Patterson (IF, Fr, Georgia Tech), forcing home Quentin. Pedroia then layed down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Jackson with the go-ahead run, making it 3-2.

The USA Baseball National Team is now 11-2 overall on the 2002 Red, White and Blue Tour. Team USA will open a four-game set at Mills Field in Strongsville, Ohio on Friday evening, July 12 @ 7:00 pm, as they take on the Northern Ohio Baseball Club. Kyle Sleeth (RHP, So, Wake Forest) will take the mound for Team USA.

The USA Baseball National Team is preparing to compete later this summer in the first-ever FISU Collegiate World Baseball Championships in Messina, Italy, August 3-11.

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