FORT MYERS, Fla. – Team USA scored in six of seven innings en route to a 20-0 win over Australia in its final exhibition game on Tuesday afternoon at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Florida.
It was the last of three exhibition games as the U.S. prepares for the XXX World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup, which begins on September 9 in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida.
The stars and stripes scored multiple runs in five of their seven turns at-bat, including a five-run first and a seven-run fifth. After the U.S. took advantage of walks and wild pitches to take a 3-0 lead, Aidan Miller (Trinity, Fla.) socked a two-run homer to cap the five-run first. Then, following Team USA putting up five runs over the next three innings, Kevin McGonigle’s (Aldan, Pa.) two-run homer highlighted a seven-run fifth frame in which the U.S. collected six hits. Colt Emerson (Cambridge, Ohio), RJ Hamilton (Hoover, Ala.), and Miller also had run-scoring knocks in the fifth.
Miller led the U.S. at the plate with a 3-for-5 performance and five RBIs, with four of them coming on the home run in the first and the double in the fifth. McGonigle also had three hits and a pair of RBIs, adding three runs scored. Additionally, Emerson, Hamilton, and Mitchell all picked up two hits in the win. The U.S. had six players score multiple runs, including five who touched home three times.
Matthew Dallas (Arlington, Tenn.) was dominant in his start for the U.S., turning in four scoreless innings. The southpaw struck out seven batters, scattering five baserunners – who reached on three hits and two walks – and escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth to wrap up his day. Alex Clemmey (Middletown, R.I.) worked two hitless innings and struck out four before Bryce Eldridge (Vienna, Va.) closed the door on the victory with a scoreless seventh.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Blake Mitchell had a bases-loaded walk, Jake Brown scored on a wild pitch, and Gavin Grahovac produced an RBI groundout to put the U.S. in front by three in the first.
- Aidan Miller capped Team USA’s first-inning onslaught with a two-run homer into the trees in left-center field, making it a 5-0 advantage.
- The stars and stripes scored twice more in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Stone Russell and heads-up baserunning by Kevin McGonigle to grow the lead to 7-0.
- Pinch-running for Blake Mitchell in the third, RJ Hamilton stole both second and third before scoring on a throwing error to make the score 8-0 in favor of the U.S.
- Kevin McGonigle led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and scored on Colt Emerson’s RBI bunt single before Aidan Miller smoked an RBI single to put the U.S. up by 10.
- After RJ Hamilton hit an RBI single and scored on a wild pitch to go up 12, Kevin McGonigle unloaded on a 3-0 pitch for a two-run homer as the Team USA lead became 14-0 in the fifth.
- Stone Russell and Colt Emerson picked up back-to-back hits in the fifth to extend the lead and Aidan Miller doubled to plate two more as the U.S. went up 17-0.
- The red, white, and blue scored three more times in the sixth when Jake Brown (Sulphur, La.) hit a single that plated two runs before he scored on an error to put up the 20th and final run of the day.
- Team USA had 16 hits in the win, with nine players picking up at least one knock.
- Five different U.S. players scored three runs in the victory: Jake Brown, Max Clark, Colt Emerson, RJ Hamilton, and Kevin McGonigle.
- RJ Hamilton stole three more bases to finish the exhibition slate a perfect 6-for-6. The stars and stripes went 13-for-14 swiping bases in the three games.
- Bryce Eldridge and RJ Hamilton both batted .667 (4-for-6) to lead the U.S. in exhibition play. Eldridge also led the team in RBIs with six.
- Overall, Team USA batted .402 (37-for-92) over the three exhibition games. The team collected 12 extra-base hits, including three homers, and outscored opponents 45-7.
- With the win, the stars and stripes wrap up their exhibition slate with an unbeaten 3-0 record.
Team USA kicks off XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup play on Friday, September 9, against the Netherlands. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida.