June 10, 1998
TUCSON, Ariz. – The USA Baseball team remained unbeaten in its summer exhibition season, posting a 14-3 victory Tuesday over the Mexico national team in the fourth and final game of the season-opening series between the teams at Hi Corbett Field.
Notre Dame sophomore third baseman Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash.) came off the bench in relief of LSU’s Blair Barbier. Ust, who was 2-for-6 while starting the previous two games, went 0-for-1 Tuesday with a walk, strikeout, run scored and three fielding assists. Notre Dame freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has yet to pitch for Team USA.
The USA next plays a five-game series versus Canada from June 10-14 before departing for the World Championship qualifier in Managua, Nicaragua (June 17-26). Rice sophomore lefthander Mario Ramos is slated to start for the USA in the opening game of the Canada series.
Texas Tech junior righthander Shane Wright picked up Tuesday’s win in a planned rotation, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk over the first four innings, with three strikeouts. Florida State freshman righthander Jon McDonald faced 10 batters over the next three innings, striking out one while allowing an unearned run. Houston sophomore lefthander Shane Nance faced seven batters over the final two innings, allowing one hit while striking out four.
The USA scored seven runs in the first three innings, with an RBI triple by Stanford first baseman John Gall and a run-scoring double by Cal State Fullerton DH Ryan Owens providing a 2-0 first-inning lead. After adding four runs in the second, the USA stretched to a 7-2 lead on a third-inning, solo home run from LSU catcher Brad Cresse that cleared the scoreboard in left field. The Americans added seven runs over the final three innings while Mexico scored once in the seventh.
Tuesday’s 15-hit game included hits from 12 different players, paced by two-hit efforts from Ludwick and Gall. Washington leftfielder Kyle Woods stroked a two-run blast in the seventh for his first home run of the series.
Team USA outscored Mexico 43-9 in the four-game series while the USA pitchers allowed just four walks over the 36 innings.
USA Baseball ultimately will select 22 players to comprise the national team, from the current player pool of 44. The team is in the midst of playing 33 games in preparation for the World Championship (July 21 – Aug. 2), which will feature reigning world champion Cuba, the host country Italy, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, the Netherlands, Spain and Russia. Five additional teams will qualify from the Americas while the African champion and Oceanian champion also will compete.
In addition to the United States, the 10-team qualifier tournament will feature Argentina, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela.