June 14, 1999
TUCSON, Ariz. – The USA Baseball National Team (1-1) opened its 1999 summer season at Hi Corbett Field by splitting a pair of games versus the Mexico national team, with Notre Dame sophomore righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) picking up the save in the second game.
Mexico posted a stunning 18-11 victory over Team USA on Saturday before the Americans bounced back for a 3-1 win on Sunday. The opening loss snapped the USA’s 20-game winning streak versus Mexico, dating back to 1987.
The USA surged ahead on Sunday with two runs in the seventh inning and Heilman struck out the only two batters he faced for the save.
UCLA outfielder Bill Scott broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh, ripping a two-run, pinch-hit double to score Wichita State infielder Koyie Hill and California third baseman Xavier Nady. Vanderbilt freshman righthander Mark Prior worked two shutout innings in the sixth and seventh to pick up the victory, allowing one hit while posting two strikeouts.
Mexico starter Jacabo Ornelas took the loss after pitching 6 and one-third innings, allowing three runs on four hits and five walks with four Ks.
Mexico (1-1) scored its lone run in the first, when Ivan Sanchez hit a leadoff double, advanced to third base on an error and scored on a double steal. Team USA plated the equalizer in the sixth, when Arizona freshman rightfielder Shelley Duncan stroked a one-out triple to left-center field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Southwest Missouri State freshman DH Ryan Howard.
Auburn righthander Chris Bootcheck logged the first three innings, allowing three hits and one walk while fanning four. Loyola Marymount’s Mike Schultz then allowed one hit and two walks over the next two innings, with two Ks. Stetson freshman lefty Len Dinardo pitched the eighth and recorded the first out in the ninth, with one walk and one strikeout.
The USA-Mexico series continues on Monday night, with the third game of the four-game set at Hi Corbett Field.
USA BASEBALL NOTES
Transactions: Team USA released two players from their training camp roster, due to injuries: Virginia Tech lefthander Larry Bowles and Long Beach State catcher Bryan Kennedy. The roster now includes a total of 37 players (27 in Tucson, 10 in Omaha at the College World Series). Assistant coach Keith Madison from the University of Kentucky left the team due to personal reasons and has been replaced by University of Arizona pitching coach Bill Kinneburg.
Travel Roster: On the travel portion of this summer’s tour, the USA Baseball roster will include 22 players (likely 10 pitchers, 2-3 catchers, 5-6 infielders and 4 outfielders). USA Baseball officials will pare the roster to 22 players by June 15, prior to departing for Salem, Oregon.
US WEST Red, White and Blue Tour: Following the Mexico series, Team USA will embark on the road portion of the US WEST Red, White and Blue Summer Tour. The team will open a 19-game road schedule in Salem, Ore. on June 17 against the Salem Volcanoes, the A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants organization. Two nights later, Team USA will take on Team Canada in Tacoma, Wash. before departing for their annual series versus the Japan Collegiate All-Star Team, which will take place in Japan this summer.
Ten Players in Omaha: Ten USA Baseball invitees currently are participating in the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., in addition to Texas A&M head coach Mark Johnson (who will serve as head coach for Team USA). Two Oklahoma State players-catcher Ryan Budde and lefthander Matt Smith-should join the USA camp in the coming days, as the Cowboys were eliminated from the CWS on Sunday. Texas A&M plays an elimination game today versus Cal State Fullerton, with Johnson and two of his players heading to Tucson should the Aggies lose (the players are OF Daylon Holt and RHP Chris Russ). Alabama RHP Lance Cormier saw his team fight off elimination on Sunday with a win over Oklahoma State while Miami OF Manny Crespo helped his team advance in the winner’s bracket (the Hurricanes do not play again until Wednesday). The four remaining USA invitees meet today in a winner’s bracket game: Florida State OF Matt Diaz, Stanford OF John Gall and Stanford RHPs Justin Wayne and Jason Young.
Few Returnees from 1998: Just three players are back from the 1998 USA Baseball team, which saw its final roster dominated by sophomores. Those three returnees are Arizona IF Keoni DeRenne (who has yet to play due to illness), California IF Xavier Nady and Stanford OF John Gall. DeRenne, Nady and Gall were teammates of Notre Dame’s Brant Ust on the 1998 USA Baseball team. Gall is one of nine members of the 1998 Team USA squad who advanced with their teams to this week’s College World Series, with the others including: Texas A&M lefthander Casey Fossum, Miami SS Bobby Hill, Florida State RHPs Jon McDonald and Nick Stocks, Cal State Fullerton 3B Ryan Owens, Rice LHP Mario Ramos, Miami RHP Alex Santos and Texas A&M 1B John Scheschuk. Four other members of the 1998 USA team had played in the 1998 CWS: USC infielder Seth Davidson and 1B Eric Munson, Arizona State OF Willie Bloomquist and LSU catcher Brad Cresse (as did Gall, Hill, McDonald, Stocks, Ramos and Santos).