July 9, 1998

TUCSON, Arizona – The USA baseball team used 22 hits, strong starting pitching and another errorless effort in the field to defeat Mexico, 21-5, in the second game of a four-game series Thursday night at Hi Corbett Field.

The USA (21-9) pounded out 14 singles, five doubles, one triple and two home runs while Miami sophomore righthander Alex Santos (2-0) allowed one run over the first six innings. Santos totaled seven strikeouts and allowed just three hits and two walks.

Houston sophomore lefthander Shane Nance (3-0, 1.13 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the USA in Friday night’s game. USA Baseball is expected to trim the 26-player squad to 22 on July 11, in preparation for the upcoming World Championship in Italy (July 21-Aug. 2).

Notre Dame sophomore third baseman Brant Ust (Redmond, Wash.) drew his 16th start of the summer, going 1-for-3 with one run scored, one walk and two fielding assists. Cal State Fullerton sophomore Ryan Owens then replaced Ust and went 2-for-2 with two RBI.

USC sophomore first baseman Eric Munson–who was re-added to the team on July 1–went 4-for-4 with one RBI, three runs scored, one triple and two doubles. Munson now is batting .400 (8-for-20) in his brief time with Team USA.

As the designated visiting team, the USA put six runs on the board in the first inning. Munson tripled home Arizona State sophomore leftfielder Willie Bloomquist and scored on a single by LSU sophomore catcher Brad Cresse. Ust followed with a single, moving Cresse to second, before little-used ASU freshman DH Casey Myers delivered an RBI single, with Ust thrown out trying to reach third.

A two-out RBI single by Baylor junior rightfielder Jon Topolski added to the opening rally before slumping Clemson freshman centerfielder Patrick Boyd scampered around the bases for an inside-the-park home run to right-center field (Boyd is hitting just .250 in 68 at-bats).

Mississippi State sophomore righthander Matt Ginter tossed the final three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk, with four strikeouts.

Ust’s summer batting average dropped to .365 (23-for-63), putting him seventh on the squad and fifth among players with 50-plus at-bats. Owens is batting .368 (25-for-68) with a .588 slugging percentage, 22 RBI and 14 strikeouts (Ust has .556 slugging, 13 RBI and 15 K’s).

Cresse hit another mammoth home run, his fifth of the season, on a fifth-inning blast to left field.