Rooker hits go-ahead homer, USA still alive in WBSC Premier12

Rooker hits go-ahead homer, USA still alive in WBSC Premier12
15/11/2019
A two-run home run by Brent Rooker put the USA ahead, Noah Song and Brandon Dickson pitched back to back perfect innings to protect the lead

Brent Rooker homered in the bottom of the seventh with a runner on base. His two-run shot put the USA ahead in a game that had seen the lineup struggle on the off-speed pitches that Chinese Taipei starter Sheng-Feng Wu served with outstanding command.

The USA won, 3-2, and are still in the race for the Premier12 medal round and a spot in the Olympics.

Rooker connected on a hanging breaking ball and he drove it well into the left field bleachers.
"He beat me with the slider in the previous at-bat," said Rooker in the post-game press conference.

"I was expecting that pitch and I got one I could handle."

It was only the fifth hit for the USA off Wu Sheng Feng, the only amateur pitcher on the roster for Chinese Taipei. The right-hander kept the USA line up off balance with a masterful use of his changeup and breaking pitches.

Wu very likely entered the seventh inning with memories of the game he is mostly known for: the win against Korea in the 2018 Asian Series.

The right-hander faced Rooker in a two-out situation and on a pitch count that was just over 100. His game ended on the home run.

Chinese Taipei lead off hitter and former Major Leaguer Hu Chin-Lung had homered on a 149kmh/92mph fastball by reliever Brian Flynn to give Chinese Taipei the lead in the top of the sixth inning.

Star center fielder Jo Adell kept the USA in the game before Rooker put them ahead. He singled, stole second and scored in the bottom of the first on a base hit by first baseman Andrew Vaughn. He then prevented a run with a leaping catch that caught a deep fly by second baseman Kuo-Yen Wen.

Noah Song pitched a perfect eighth inning, using 13 pitches, nine of them for strikes. He highlighted the frame with the fastest pitch of the Premier12 2019 so far: 159kmh/99mph.

"I was told I had the fastest pitch. Sometimes your pitches get to home plate faster than expected, sometimes not so fast as you expected. It was awesome I could contribute to this win," commented Song after the game.

Brandon Dickson needed only 11 pitches to get through the ninth and earn the save.