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WBSC U-18 World Cup winners Gorman, Liberatore make MLB debut the same week

WBSC U-18 World Cup winners Gorman, Liberatore make MLB debut the same week
24/05/2022
The 2017 U-18 World Champions, who started playing baseball together at five, made their debuts for the St. Louis Cardinals on two consecutive days.

Power-hitting infielder Nolan Gorman (born in 2000) and left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore (1999) have been friends since the age of five. They started playing baseball together in Arizona, and their baseball careers blossomed together.

They helped the United States win the 2017 WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup. Gorman was the starting third baseman.

Liberatore earned two U-18 World Cup wins, including the championship game against Korea, without allowing a run. The southpaw also helped the US qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He started two games and earned a win at the WBSC Americas Qualifier.

The St. Louis Cardinals called the two friends up to the Major League Baseball (MLB) club during the same weekend.

Gorman went 1-for-3 in his MLB debut on Friday, 20 May, in a 5-3 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He went 1-for-2 on Saturday, 21 May, in a 5-4 Cardinals win against the Pirates

Liberatore made his debut on Saturday. He left with a no-decision after allowing four earned runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out three in 4.2 innings pitched. Reliever Drew Verhagen took over for Liberatore in the fifth and earned the win. Ryan Helsey threw a perfect ninth and earned the save.

The Cardinals drafted Gorman out of high school with the No. 19 overall pick in 2018. He is currently rated as the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect and starred at the Triple-A level, posting a .308 batting average with 15 home runs.

Liberatore was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays as No. 16 overall the same year. The Rays traded him to St. Louis to get slugger Randy Arozarena, a 2013 U-18 Baseball World Cup alum. He pitched 164.2 innings across the 2021 and 2022 seasons at Triple-A. According to MLB scouts, he can throw four pitches (fastball, slider, curveball and changeup), all above average.

The next WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, which will be its 30th edition, will be held in the U.S. from 9-18 September in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida.