Japan Stymies Team USA to Level Series

Wednesday is set to be the deciding game of the series

Box Score | PxP | Cumulative Stats

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Japan’s Kaito Shimomura held the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team hitless for five innings, before three relievers closed out a 4-3 victory Tuesday evening at Joseph Riley Jr. Park, leveling the 44th Collegiate All-Star Championship Series at two games apiece.

Shimomura retired 12 straight U.S. batters en route to posting five scoreless frames. The right-hander allowed just two first-inning baserunners and a two-out walk in the fifth.

After Team USA responded with three runs in the sixth, Japan answered with three of its own in the home half to reclaim the lead for good. From there, Sho Kusaka struck out three over an inning-and-two-thirds, before Haruki Hosona and Hayato Tsunehiro combined to retire the final four U.S. hitters of the game in succession.

The U.S. did all of its offensive damage in the sixth, riding a Griff O’Ferrall (Virginia) double and a JJ Wetherholt(West Virginia) two-run homer to a one-run lead. Kaelen Culpepper (Kansas State) added a two-out solo shot to extend the lead to 3-1.

But Japan scored the final three runs of the night, using RBI singles from Rui Muneyama and Ryuta Hirose to reclaim the lead in the home half of the sixth.


  • Shimomura faced his biggest threat in the opening frame after hitting a pair of U.S. batters; but the right-hander recorded the first of his four strikeouts and induced a comebacker for the final out of the inning.
  • Team USA starter Trey Yesavage (East Carolina) nearly equaled Shimomura, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters of the game in order.
  • Seiya Watanabe was the lone Japan hitter to reach in the first three innings, clubbing a one-out home run to left in the bottom of the second for the lone run of the first five frames.
  • After Shimomura’s exit after the fifth, O’Ferrall and Wetherholt put the U.S. on the board in a blink; O’Ferrall lined a double to left on a two-strike offering, before Wetherholt launched an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left-center.
  • Culpepper added to the lead with his team-leading third home run of the CNT campaign to stretch the U.S. advantage to two runs.
  • Ippei Amai started Japan’s decisive sixth-inning rally with a leadoff double to left, before Muneyama’s one-out single brought him home to slice the deficit in half.
  • Misho Nishikawa added a third hit, before Watanabe’s ground ball to the right side tied the game and Hirose’s two-out, RBI single plated the go-ahead run.
  • Kusaka fanned three of the first four batters he faced before walking Wetherholt in the eighth; Hosono induced an inning-ending ground ball to second to preserve the narrow lead.
  • Tsunehiro closed out the victory by fanning two of the three U.S. hitters to come to the plate in a 1-2-3 ninth.


  • O’Ferrall extended his CNT hit streak to nine-straight games, finishing 1-for-4.
  • Wetherholt reched base in three of his four trips to the plate, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs.
  • Yesavage allowed just one hit—the Watanabe homer in the second—and struck out three over his 4.0 innings.
  • Jay Woolfork (Virginia) worked around a leadoff error—just the third U.S. error defensive miscue in its nine contests—in his lone inning of work, a scoreless fifth.
  • Tyson Neighbors (Kansas State) worked a perfect eighth for Team USA, coaxed a trio of ground balls to keep the deficit at one run.


  • Team USA will conclude its 2023 CNT season with the fifth and deciding game of the 44th USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship Series sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Wednesday (July 12) at 6:30 p.m. ET at Joseph Riley Jr. Park.
  • Tickets for this year’s Collegiate National Team’s series with Japan can be found HERE.


  • Stay tuned to @USABaseballCNT on Twitter for the most up-to-date news about the 2023 Collegiate National Team.