Saito leads Japan to second straight win

July 6, 2007

  • Box Score  |  Scoreboard/Results
  • DURHAM, NCó Japanese righthander Yuki Saito, out dueled fellow freshman Jacob Thompson (1-1), as the Japan University All-Stars (3-3) won their second straight in the five-game series with Team USA (10-4), winning game three, 2-1, on Friday evening.

    Saito, a freshman phenom in Japan, also nicknamed the Handkerchief Prince, pitched six strong innings, giving up one run on three hits, while walking three and striking out another three. He gave it over to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead after 89 pitches. Tomoyuki Kaida got the next five outs, before giving it over to closer Shinya Muramatsu. Muramutsu, who got the final seven outs last night, got the final four tonight.

    Fellow freshman Jacob Thompson (Virginia) countered with seven and one-third innings of stellar baseball as well. He gave up just one hit after the third, settling for two unearned runs on three hits. Thompson struck out five and walked three on 101 pitches.

    Japan used small ball to plate two unearned runs in the second to lead 2-0. The Japanese did not hit it out of the infield until Sho Aranami's two-out single up the middle, following a walk, a fielder's choice, two bunts and an error. Thompson, an inning later, retired 10 in a row until a two-out double in the sixth.

    Brett Wallace (Arizona State) led off the second with a double and scored following consecutive groundouts to make it 2-1.

    RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Shota Oba will pitch in game four... Oba lasted just 2.2 innings, giving up five runs on four hits in game one... Team USA has never lost a collegiate series with Japan on U.S. soil in 19 career meetings. The series is in its 36th meeting.

    The 10-game North Carolina home stand concludes in Durham, NC on July 7 and 8, all with the Japanese... the team then heads to processing in Washington DC on July 9 (or 10) before heading to the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The open play up with the Dominican Republic on July 14.