Game Notes: The 2007 IBAF World Cup
USA clinches top seed; faces Korea on Friday
USA 10 - Taipei 7
Nov. 14, 2007
TEAM USA RESULTS
|USA 3 - MEX 0
|USA 7 - PAN 0
|ITL 6 - USA 2
|USA 5 - JPN 1
|USA 12 - SPAIN 1
|USA 4 - S Africa 2
|USA 10 - Taipei 7
USA BEATS CHINESE TAIPEI 10-7; HEAD TO QUARTER-FINALS AS GROUPS TOP SEED: When Team USA and Chinese Taipei squared off tonight in the final game of pool play at the 2007 IBAF World Cup it was already determined that they were going to be the top two seeds in their bracket when quarter-finals begin on Friday. The only thing yet to be determined; who will be number one?
Team USA struck first when second baseman Jayson Nix crushed a 0-2 fastball over the left field wall in the top of the first to give the USA a 1-0 lead. Chinese Taipei struck back with a run in the bottom half of the first. Leadoff hitter Chih-Sheng Lin singled to left and two batters later clean-up hitter Chin-Feng Chen ripped a double to deep center tying the score 1-1.
The score remained knotted at one until the top of the 4th when Evan Longoria and Delwyn Young ripped back-to-back doubles and Justin Ruggiano followed with a single, chasing Taipei starter Ying-Chieh Lin and giving the U.S. a 3-1 lead. But Chinese Taipei came right back in the bottom of the frame to score two runs of their own after a throwing error by third baseman Evan Longoria was followed by a double from Tai-Shan Chang and a sac fly from Chia-Hsien Hsieh.
Like a great heavyweight fight Team USA came right back in the top of the 5th, Colby Rasmus walked to lead off the inning and Nix followed with a single. Rasmus and Nix then pulled off a double steal of second and third and Andy LaRoche ripped the next pitch into the right-center gap scoring both base runners. Two batters later Longoria ripped a single to left scoring LaRoche and giving the U.S. a 6-3 advantage.
Team USA starter Josh Outman was brilliant through five. Outman struck out 8 while walking none and giving up 2 earned runs on just three hits. He gave way to Steven Shell in the 6th and after a leadoff strikeout Shell got himself into some trouble. He hit a batter, gave up a single and walked a batter to load the bases. Manager Davey Johnson walked to the mound and lifted Shell for Jerry Blevins.
Chia-Hsien Hsieh worked the count full before ripping a base clearing double into the left-centerfield gap tying the game at 6-6. Lee Gronkiewicz replaced Blevins and just as he did last year at the Olympic qualifier in Havana against Cuba, he shut the home team down to end the inning.
Evan Longoria started the 7th with a line drive base hit for the U.S. and Delwyn Young followed with a walk bringing up right fielder Justin Ruggiano who hit a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for an opposite field 3-run homerun and a 9-6 USA lead.
Jeff Stevens relieved Gronkiewicz and pitched a scoreless 8th. In the top of the 9th Ruggiano who played the hero in the seventh put the cherry on top with his second homerun of the game a solo shot to right.
Chris Booker came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th for Team USA and after loading the bases with no one out a sacrifice fly made the score 10-7. Booker bared down and struck out then next batter then got Chinese Taipei's clean-up hitter Chin-Feng Chen on a fly out to centerfield and Team USA had won the game 10-7 and clinched the top seed in their group heading into the elimination rounds starting Friday in Taipei City.
HOME CROWD: A festive sellout crowd of 14,227 were on hand to watch the USA-Chinese Taipei match-up. Chants, whistles and horns could be heard throughout the stadium all game.
NOTES: Justin Ruggiano went 3-4 with 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R and a walk; Evan Longoria was 3-5 with 1 RBI and 2 runs; Jayson Nix was 2-5, HR, 2 R, and 1 RBI. Team USA travels to Taipei City tomorrow and will play Korea on Friday night at 6:00 PM (local) in the World Cup quarter-finals. Team USA and all other 2007 IBAF World Cup action can be seen live online at www.stadeo.tv.