Japan Claims Series From Team USA With Decisive Game Five Victory

Three runs in second and eighth innings prove costly in final game of series

Box Score | PxP | Cumulative Stats

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Japan rode another strong pitching performance and a pair of three-run rallies to a 6-2 victory over the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, claiming the 44th USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship Series, three games to two, Wednesday evening at Joseph Riley Jr. Park.

Haruki Hosono limited Team USA to a pair of runs (one earned) on three hits over 5 2/3 innings, before four pitchers combined on 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief to close out Japan’s second consecutive win in the series.

After Team USA failed to put its leadoff man on base in eight of nine innings in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss in game four of the series, Japan nearly duplicated the feat Wednesday, retiring the first hitter in seven straight innings to start the decisive contest.

Team USA engineered a first-inning rally, scoring a two-out run on a Hosono wild pitch.

But Japan answered with three runs in the second, as two of Team USA’s three errors in the contest came home to roost. Ryuta Hirose doubled home one run, before a fielder’s choice grounder and a throwing error plated two more for a 3-1 Japan lead.

The U.S. sliced the deficit in half with a sixth-inning tally after engineering a two-out threat and capitalizing on a fielding error. But Japan put the game on ice with a three-spot in the eighth, beating out three infield hits and scoring two additional unearned runs.


  • The U.S. plated the game’s first run in the bottom of the first, getting a one-out walk to JJ Wetherholt (West Virginia) and a Kaelen Culpepper (Kansas State) single to set the stage; with two out, Hosono uncorked a pitch that skipped to the backstop, allowing Wetherholt to trot home.
  • Japan answered in the top of the second, after an infield hit by Misho Nishikawa and a U.S. fielding error started the inning; Hirose doubled home the tying run, before Yuya Shinto’s bouncer to third brought in the go-ahead run, plus another after a U.S. throwing error.
  • Hosono locked into a groove from that point, retiring 10 straight U.S. hitters at one point and 15 of 16 overall after Team USA’s first-inning threat.
  • After Hosono sat down the first two U.S. hitters in the sixth, Wetherholt singled, before back-to-back walks loaded the bases; Jac Caglianone’s (Florida) chopper eluded the third baseman, allowing Wetherholt to cross the plate to cut the margin to 3-2.
  • The U.S. was able to stay within striking distance thanks to the work of its bullpen, as Michael Massey (Wake Forest) and Ryan Johnson (Dallas Baptist) combined to retire 18 straight batters.
  • But Japan snapped that string on Daiuske Nakashima’s leadoff single in the eighth that opened the door to the decisive three-run rally; Ippei Amai and Nishikawa added infield hits, before a two-out error and a Seiya Watanabe RBI double extended the lead to four runs.


  • Griff O’Ferrall (Virginia) went hitless for the first time during the CNT campaign, stopping a nine-game hit streak; the shortstop finished the CNT tour with a .463 batting average and team-best 19 hits.
  • Culpepper registered a 2-for-3 performance to lead Team USA; he also finished with a club-best .471 (16-for-34) batting mark for the 10-game campaign.
  • Massey retired all nine batters he faced, striking out two over his 3.0 perfect frames.
  • Johnson also retired nine straight, finishing his night after allowing one run on one infield single with four punchouts over 3.1 innings.
  • After limiting the U.S. to three hits in game four, Japan held Team USA to four hits in the finale.


With the completion of the USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship Series, Team USA concluded its CNT campaign with a 7-3 overall mark that included a five-game sweep of Chinese Taipei in the International Friendship Series.