July 4, 1998
TUCSON, Arizona – The USA baseball team used a five-run sixth inning and a strong outing by Houston sophomore lefthander Shane Nance to post its second shutout of the summer, 6-0 over Japan, in the second game of a five-game series Saturday night in front of 2,874 fans at Hi Corbett Field.
Notre Dame sophomore third baseman Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash.) did not start the game while striking out as a pinch hitter in the late innings.
Japan and the USA are scheduled to resume the series Sunday night, with Texas A&M sophomore lefthander Casey Fossum (2-0, 4.56) slated to take the mound for the USA.
The USA (18-7) rallied with two outs to score five unearned runs in the sixth. USC sophomore first baseman Eric Munson–seeing his first action since being re-added to the team on July 1–singled home Clemson freshman centerfielder Patrick Boyd, who had reached on an error, for the game’s first run. A balk on Masahiro Yoshikawa then moved Munson to second and Miami sophomore shortstop Bobby Hill to third before LSU sophomore catcher Brad Cresse delivered a two-run double to the gap in right-center field.
Baylor sophomore DH Jason Jennings capped the big inning with a two-run home run to right field, his first home run and just his third hit in 17 at-bats with Team USA.
Nance, who improved to 3-0 while dropping his summer ERA to 1.13, scattered seven hits and one walk over seven shutout innings while totaling six strikeouts. Florida State freshman righthander Jon McDonald closed out the final two innings, allowing two hits while recording one strikeout.
UNLV sophomore Ryan Ludwick blasted a towering, pinch-hit home run that tucked inside the leftfield foul pole to provide the game’s final run in the top of the ninth and give Ludwick his team-leading sixth home run of the summer.
Saturday’s shutout dropped the USA staff’s summer ERA to 3.95 while opposing batters are hitting .271 versus the USA staff this summer. The Americans hurlers have totaled 236 strikeouts in 228 innings, while allowing 238 hits and just 59 walks.