July 13, 1999
PORTLAND, Ore. – Notre Dame sophomore righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) picked up the win in relief while UCLA leftfielder Bill Scott provided the decisive two-run triple, as the USA Baseball team evened its series with Nicaragua, 5-3, before 1,811 fans Tuesday night at Civic Stadium.
Heilman entered in relief of Stanford righthander Justin Wayne and recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning and the first two of the ninth, with two strikeouts, two flyouts and one hit allowed. Arizona righthander Ben Diggins then struck out Marlon Abea to save the win for the USA.
The three-game USA-Nicaragua series concludes on Wednesday night in Spokane, Wash.
Heilman dropped his summer ERA to 1.50 (second only to Diggins’ 0.71 on the USA staff) and is 2-1 with two saves. He leads the team with nine appearances (two starts) while ranking second on the team with 18 innings pitched and sharing the team strikeout lead, with 21. Heilman has allowed just five walks, 13 hits and a .197 opponent batting average (second-best on the staff, behind Diggins’ .125).
Scott’s towering, ninth-inning blast landed at the base of the centerfield wall, scoring San Francisco first baseman Tagg Bozied and Stanford pinch-hitter John Gall for the 5-3 lead.
Dennis Martinez, Nicaragua’s player-manager who last season became the winningest Latin America pitcher in major-league history, faced one batter in the ninth. He suffered a leg injury while running to first base on a chopper hit by Arizona shortstop Keoni DeRenne and had to leave the game.
Team USA (9-9) grabbed a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh when Bozied drilled a clutch one-out, bases-loaded single to right-center, but Nicaraguans bounced right back to tie the game, capped by a double from pinch-hitter Abea.
The USA entered the game riding a 13-inning scoreless streak with wood bats, but pushed across a run in the first inning after North Carolina centerfielder Tyrell Godwin hit the game’s first pitch for a double to left field, followed by back-to-back singles from DeRenne and Bozied.
Nicaragua tied the game with an unearned run in the fourth inning, after Wayne had retired the first nine batters he faced. Danilo Sotelo reached on a DeRenne throwing error, Jorge Avellan rapped a single to left field and Norman Cardoze bunted the runners over before Ariel Delgado’s RBI groundball to DeRenne produced a 1-1 game.