Cal's Blake Smith Leads Undefeated USA National Baseball Team in Hitting
July 24, 2008
BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC - University of California right fielder/right-handed pitcher Blake Smith is the leading hitter for the USA Baseball National (Collegiate) Team this summer as Team USA is sporting a perfect 22-0 record during its 2008 summer tour. Smith, who will be a junior next spring for the Golden Bears, has helped the USA National Team (which is not the USA Beijing Olympic baseball team) go 6-0 in pool play and advance to the semifinals of the IV FISU World Collegiate Baseball Championship in the Czech Republic by hitting .362 (17-for-47) overall with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games.
Smith is also one of Team USA's top relievers, sporting a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA and two saves, striking out 11 batters with only three hits and three walks in 9.0 innings. The USA National Team just defeated the Chinese Taipei National Team, 3-2 in 11 innings, on July 24 to advance to the World Collegiate Baseball Championship semifinal round. In Thursday's victory over the Chinese Taipei squad at Mestsky Stadium, Smith had one of Team USA's four hits, doubling down the right field line in the sixth inning. He nearly ended the game with a two-out walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning, but Chinese Taipei right fielder Mis-Szu Chen caught the ball just above the fence in right-center field.
Team USA will return to action at 7:30 a.m. PDT Saturday, July 26 to face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the first of two semifinal games of the World Collegiate Baseball Championship. Other top games for Smith during the World Collegiate Baseball Tournament include going 2-for-2 with two RBI against Japan July 23; 2-for-3 with a double, home run and five RBI in the USA National Team's 30-1 victory over Lithuania July 20; and 2-for-2 with a home run versus Korea on July 18.
During this past spring, Smith batted .296 with 11 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 43 RBI for Cal (33-21-2). On the mound, he was 3-0 with a 3.80 ERA and had 36 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. Smith also threw two runners out at the plate from right field during the year and hit a two-run homer against Long Beach State at the NCAA Regional in Long Beach.
Smith is the second Bear in the past two summers to standout for the USA National Team. Last summer right-hander Tyson Ross was 4-1 with a 0.82 ERA for Team USA.