July 24, 1998
MESSINA, Italy – USC sophomore designated hitter Eric Munson smacked two home runs and Stanford sophomore first baseman John Gall drove in four runs of his own as the USA Baseball team used a five-home-run outburst Friday night to defeat Taiwan, 13-6, in third-day action at the International Baseball Associations XXXIII World Championship.
The USA–which opened the week with 3-1 losses to the Netherlands and Korea–improved to 1-2 at the 16-team World Championship and 27-11 overall while Taiwan fell to 0-3 in Sicily. The USA will look to remain on the winning track Saturday night in group B action versus Russia, with Clemson sophomore righthander Ryan Mottl (2-0) slated to start on the mound. The top four teams from groups A and B will advance to the quarterfinals, following seven-game round-robin play.
Notre Dame sophomore third baseman Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash.) did not play in Friday nights game, after starting the previous three.
Texas A&M sophomore lefthander Casey Fossum (3-1) allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks over the first five innings, with three strikeouts. Florida State freshman righthander Jon McDonald faced only 13 batters over the final four innings for his first save of the summer, allowing one hit while recording one strikeout.
Taiwan owned a 5-4 lead before the USA erupted for four runs in the top of the fifth. Gall drew a leadoff walk and Munson then delivered from the cleanup spot, sending a shot over the rightfield fence for his second home run of the game and second of the summer (he re-joined the team in early July). Texas A&M junior first baseman John Scheschuk then drew a one-out walk and UNLV sophomore rightfielder Ryan Ludwick followed with a blast to left field for his second home run of the tournament and eighth of the summer.
Taiwan cut the lead to 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth but could get no closer, with the USA adding two runs in the sixth and eighth innings and one more run in the ninth.
The early USA fireworks included a leadoff home run in the first inning from Miami sophomore shortstop Bobby Hill (his second homer of the summer), followed moments later by a towering solo blast to right field by Munson. Gall–who went 3-for-4 with a late-inning home run–added to the early scoring with a two-run single in the second inning, plating Cal State Fullerton sophomore third baseman Ryan Owens and USC freshman second baseman Seth Davidson.
Taiwan DH Chin-Feng Chen hit a two-run blast in the first inning before adding a three-run shot in the third.
Owens was 1-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, a walk and a strikeout.