18U BWC: USA comes back against Chinese Taipei

06/09/2013

USA joins Japan in Gold Medal Game after 7-5 victory on Friday evening

INTERCONTINENTAL STADIUM. Defending champion USA is making back-to-back appearances in the Gold Medal Game at the 18U Baseball World Cup. On Friday evening they came back from a 2-5 deficit to end Chinese Taipei’s last hopes to reach the finals with a 7-5 victory. Three runs in the bottom of the eighth decided the outcome. The US squad will join Japan in the championship game on Sunday, while CT needs to win on Saturday to settle for the Bronze Medal Game.

It was a dramatic night game at Intercontinental Stadium. The United States struck first and took a 2-0 lead on Cole Tucker’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the second. Prior to his at-bat Bryson Brigman had reached on a dropped flyball at short to keep the inning alive.

But Chinese Taipei wasn’t shocked and answered right away. Chia-Jung Liang tied the game in the top of the third with a two-run double and a few moments later crossed the plate for the go-ahead run. An error in left field and a sac fly by Kuo-Hao Wu in the fifth and sixth extended their lead to 5-2.

Team USA grabbed the momentum in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Rivera connected for a two-run home run with two outs to cut the American deficit to one run. While Chinese Taipei stopped the damage there, they couldn’t do anything in the eighth.

Scott Hurst tripled to left to open the frame and tied the game on Jackson Reetz’ following double to right. After Jeffrey Schwarz’ bunt didn’t advance the Reetz to third, Bryson Brigman came through with a RBI triple to right to put the United States back in front. He scored an insurance run on a sac fly by Tucker to seal the deal.

In the ninth Luis Ortiz closed it out for the save, retiring the side on 11 pitches. Joseph Demers received the win after 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Starting pitcher Justus Sheffield had issued eight hits, five runs (4 ER) and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Tzu-Wei Lin became the starting nod for CT. He struck out six in 6 2/3 solid innings, allowing six hits, four runs (2 ER) and a walk. He took a no decision, as Chen-Yen Chiang got charged with the blown save and the loss giving up back to back extra base hits in the eighth.

In a preview of the championship game, USA and Japan will meet on Saturday evening at Intercontinental Stadium. The winner will receive home field advantage on Sunday. Chinese Taipei needs a win over Korea in the afternoon to reach the Bronze Medal Game.