Team USA Blasts Three Homers to Take Down Venezuela at World Cup Qualifier

Martin and Morlando go back-to-back, Borba hits three-run shot in 9-4 win

Box Score | Plays | Cumulative Stats

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico – Team USA hit three home runs to take down Venezuela, 9-4, at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier on Sunday evening in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

The stars and stripes are now 3-0 in Group B pool play.

After falling into a deficit for the first time in the tournament, the U.S. responded for three runs in both the third and fourth innings to take control of the game. Leading 3-1 in the fourth, Roman Martin (Whittier, Calif.) and PJ Morlando (Summerville, S.C.) delivered back-to-back homers to take all the momentum and extend Team USA’s lead to five. Then, with the U.S. ahead by three in the bottom of the sixth, Casey Borba (Santa Ana, Calif.) demolished a three-run homer over the left-center field wall to add insurance and put the game out of reach.

Martin was key for the U.S. in multiple facets in the win, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs, three runs scored, and several clutch defensive plays at shortstop. Borba also had a two-hit night and drove in a game-high four runs. Daniel Arambula (Yucaipa, Calif.) collected a hit and RBI – driving in the third run of Team USA’s big third inning with an RBI single – and Michael Torres (Town) drew a game-high three walks and scored two runs in the victory.

Carson Messina (Summerville, S.C.) started for Team USA and earned the win, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing three runs (two earned). Messina worked out of several jams throughout the contest, striking out seven batters along the way. Mavrick Rizy (Fiskdale, Mass.) came out of the bullpen and gave the United States 1.2 massive innings, escaping a jam in the fifth and pitching a scoreless sixth. Keider Herrera started for Venezuela and allowed three runs in two plus innings to suffer the loss.


  • A hit-by-pitch and error put two on with one out in the top of the first for Venezuela, but Roman Martin and Daniel Arambula turned a clutch double play to keep the game scoreless.
  • Venezuela pitcher Keider Herrera escaped a jam unscathed in the bottom of the second despite Noah Franco singling and Macon Winslow getting hit by a pitch to start the frame.
  • Eduardo Herrera singled and eventually scored on a throwing error to give Venezuela a 1-0 lead in the top of third.
  • The U.S. knotted the game at one when Roman Martin capped a nine-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to left in the bottom of the third.
  • After Casey Borba’s bases-loaded walk gave Team USA a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third, Daniel Arambula hit an opposite-field single to drive in another run and make it a two-run edge for the U.S.
  • With Nazzan Zanetello on third and two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Roman Martin smoked a two-run homer to left-center field and put the stars and stripes in front, 5-1.
  • PJ Morlando hit the second consecutive homer for the U.S. in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 6-1 lead, going opposite field over the left-center field wall.
  • Venezuela scored twice in the top of the fifth to knock Carson Messina out of the game and make the score 6-3, but Mavrick Rizy entered from the bullpen and escaped further trouble.
  • Michael Torres and Roman Martin both walked in the bottom of the sixth before Casey Borba added insurance in a big way, drilling a three-run blast and making the score 9-3 in favor of the red, white, and blue.
  • Venezuela scratched a run across in the seventh but Matthew Champion got the final three outs of the 9-4 victory.


  • With his two-hit performance against Venezuela, Roman Martin jumps into the team lead in batting average (.571).
  • The U.S. now has two players with multiple home runs in tournament play (Noah Franco and PJ Morlando). Only one other player in the entire event has hit multiple home runs thus far.
  • Nazzan Zanetello stole two bases in the win and the U.S. is now a perfect 5-for-5 on the base paths.
  • With ten more strikeouts in the win on Sunday, Team USA has now punched out 25 batters in 17.0 innings.
  • U.S. hitters got plunked by two pitches in the win and have now gotten hit 13 times over three games.
  • The United States has now scored 16 runs in the third inning of its first three contests, scoring nine against Peru, four against Puerto Rico, and three against Venezuela.
  • Team USA’s 37 runs are the most among all teams at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup Americas Qualifier.
  • The U.S. has defeated Venezuela ten consecutive times at the U-18 level and is 16-3 all-time in the series.

Team USA concludes pool play on Tuesday against Canada. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET from Estadio Leonardo Gastelum in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

To follow along with all the action with the 18U National Team, be sure to follow @USABaseball18U on Twitter and @USABaseball on FacebookInstagramTikTok, and Twitter.