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USA Falls in Extra Innings to Japan, 6-3

July 15, 2017
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Japan 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 6 6 0
USA Baseball 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 0
Win: Masashi Ito Loss: Bryce Tucker Save: Hiromasa Saito
Box Score | Play by Play | Cumulative Stats | Series Stats

BROCKTON, Mass. - Cadyn Grenier went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Tim Cate recorded 4.0 scoreless innings in relief as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team fell to Japan, 6-3, in 10 innings on Friday in the second game of the 41st USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from Campanelli Stadium. The best-of-five series is now tied at 1-1.

Tied 2-2 after nine innings, the two teams went to extra innings under international tie-breaking rules as runner start on first and second base with no outs. Japan scored four runs in the 10th inning highlighted by Keita Nakagawa driving in two runs with a double down the third-base line.

The United States team looked to extend the game in the bottom of the 10th inning as Steele Walker ripped a line drive that was knocked down by Yuki Tsumori for an out but allowed Grenier to score to make it 6-3. Japan then brought in Hiromasa Saito and got a fly out to end the game.

The U.S. scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third inning as Nick Madrigal lined a base hit through the left side of the infield to score Jake McCarthy from second base.

Japan took its first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning when Taiju Utsumi hit an infield single to drive in a run followed by Hiroki Obata lifting a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Taishi Kusumoto who slid just underneath the tag on the throw home by Walker to make the score 2-1.

The United States tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning as Grenier led off the inning with a single to right field and later came around to score on a balk.

Cate threw 4.0 shutout innings in relief and did not allow a hit while recording seven strikeouts. Starting pitcher Steven Gingery tossed 4.0 innings allowing two runs on five hits with one strikeout.

The U.S. team ended the game with three runs on seven hits with no errors, while Japan finished with six runs on six hits and no errors.

The United States will play game three of the 41st USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series on Saturday at 5:35 p.m. from LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The series against Japan is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.

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Andre Pallante Selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team

May 19, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. --- Andre Pallante has been selected to the 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and will join the squad this summer in three international friendship series across the U.S.

The sophomore is ascended in 2018 to the ace of the UC Irvine staff while becoming one of the best pitchers in the Big West Conference and making marks among the nation's best.

After leading the club in 2017 with six wins, he's built upon that with an 8-1 mark as the Friday starter tying himself for the conference lead, and has been backed by conference bests in ERA at 1.32 and strikeouts with 103.

His 1.32 ERA currently ranks seventh in the nation, and he is on pace to set an Anteater single-season record. In his 13 starts this season, he's registered a quality start in 12 of them while holding opponents' batting average under .200 for most of the year.

He recently earned his 150th career strikeout, and hit 100 strikeouts for the season in his last start, just the 14th occurrence in program history. He has put up 10 strikeouts in a game three times already this season including a career high 12 punchouts against Gonzaga where he allowed one hit over 12 innings in a shutout.

Pallante marks the second straight Anteater to join the squad following in the footsteps of Keston Hiura last summer where he hit .289 with three home runs including the game-winner to clinch team USA's first series win against the Cuban National Team in Cuba.

The 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28 - July 2. The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18. Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube. For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.

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GSA Spotlight: Nick Sandlin

May 17, 2018

"Hey, what have you heard about Nick Sandlin?"

Out of the all the questions I've been asked by scouts throughout the 2018 campaign, this simple question might just lead the way. Before this season, the Southern Miss junior righthander was one of the nation's premier relievers. He tallied identical 2.38 earned-run averages over the last two seasons, and he struck out 80 batters in just 56.2 innings last season.

He was already a prospect, but he was also 5-foot-11, 170 pounds. Not exactly a physical specimen that scouts dream about.

But this season has been different. Sandlin is no longer just a reliever who comes in and slams the door on teams from a funky slot and angle, and with velocity. He's now a starting pitcher. Scratch that, he's now one of the nation's premier starting pitchers, and there's a strong case he's second nationally behind only Auburn righthander Casey Mize, who's likely to be the top overall pick in the MLB draft. That's good company to be in … especially when you're 5-foot-11, 170.

"I don't want to say he'd put up the exact same numbers in a league like the SEC, but I'd bet he'd be pretty close," a National League crosschecker said. "The first time I saw him, I remember walking up to the bullpen and noticing how small he was. He's really small. But then, you go out there and watch him pitch, and you look up in the seventh inning, and the line score is filled with zeroes.

"I think he's a tough kid and he's a grinder," the scout continued. "I think he's really confident and he's a big-time strike-thrower. He doesn't seem to back down from anyone, and he's really tough and throws his stuff all over the zone. It's an extremely uncomfortable at bat for any hitter."

Those uncomfortable at bats are something that USM pitching coach Christian Ostrander got to experience the last two seasons during his time at Louisiana Tech. He remembers Sandlin well, especially after the hard-nosed righthander tossed 4.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen in a USM sweep over the Bulldogs last season.

So, when he took the USM pitching coach job after Mike Federico went to Louisiana-Monroe, he was curious to see what Sandlin was all about - this time, as his coach.

"Being at Tech the last two years, I gotta feel for him from another spectrum - as a closer. I had an opinion of the guy, and I knew that he he wasn't scared of competition, and that he loved attacking hitters," Ostrander said. "I got here over the summer and we built a relationship rather quickly. He's a very mild-mannered dude and he simply does not get sped up at all.

"He's extremely confident in his ability to go out there and pitch well," he continued. "On top of that, he's a very smart young man. He knows what he needs to do to be successful. He knows when to put juice on the ball, and he has tremendous feel and maturity."

Ostrander watched his veteran pitcher put up good numbers in the fall. Then, he watched him chop up hitters throughout the first part of spring workouts. At that point, the Golden Eagles planned to use Sandlin as a reliever, and potentially a guy who could go three or four innings out of the pen on a given night.

The more Ostrander watched Sandlin pitch, the more he thought the righty was destined to be in the weekend rotation.

So, Ostrander approached USM head coach Scott Berry about the possibility. He wanted Sandlin to move to the weekend rotation. A bold move, of course. While Sandlin had experience dominating hitters out of the bullpen, the move to the rotation isn't always easy. And once a pitcher fails at it, it's often tough to regain confidence after moving back to the bullpen.

But the Golden Eagles decided to roll the dice. They had that much confidence in Sandlin.

"You know, you always have that concern that when you make the big step to move someone to the rotation, that it sometimes doesn't work," Ostrander said. "But we built up his pitch counts leading up to the season and felt pretty good about it.

"I just thought we needed a stabilizer on Friday nights, and Nick is obviously that. There were a lot of things involved in moving him to the rotation," he continued. "We had talked to Nick about it in the fall, but he was a good sport - he was never abrasive about having a need to start. I just thought he was more than someone who could throw 75 pitches on a weekend. I thought he could go much deeper than that." Sandlin's first test of the season was a big one, a date with Mississippi State at home. You know, the same MSU that eliminated the Golden Eagles on their home field last June.

He was marvelous. The righthander struck out nine, didn't walk anyone and allowed just four hits in seven shutout innings.

That was the beginning to what has been an incredible junior season. Sandlin gained a plethora of confidence from that start against the Bulldogs, and was terrific the first couple months of the season. The righty missed a couple of starts in the middle of the season because of arm soreness, but was more dominant than ever in his return starts against Old Dominion and UAB.

In addition to throwing complete game shutouts against both teams, he allowed nine hits, struck out 19 and walked just four batters.

"What he's done this year, sitting close to 80 innings, it's been phenomenal," Ostrander said. "To have the stuff he has - real stuff, it's special. His stuff is always moving somewhere, and to be able to command the zone given that tells you a whole lot. He's not invincible, but it's been fun to watch. It's a lot of fun as a pitching coach to call a pitch and see how he executes it. Typically, he does a tremendous job because he has outstanding feel."

Sandlin, who could go as high as the third or fourth round in the draft, has tallied incredible numbers this season. He has an unblemished 7-0 record with a 1.15 ERA in 78.1 innings, along with 114 strikeouts and just 14 walks. Teams also are hitting Sandlin at a .148 clip.

"There aren't a ton of sidearmers in the big leagues with his stuff," the crosschecker said. "And he consistently does what he does for nine innings. It's impressive. I'm not sure he can start in the big leagues, but I do think a team will put him in the bullpen right away, and I also think he'll move relatively fast through the system."

The stuff has been firmer this spring. For instance, Sandlin sits anywhere from 89-93 and up to 94 and even 95 at times with his fastball. He darts the fastball low and around the zone, not giving hitters a clue where it might be going next. He also shows excellent feel for a slider that ranges 79-86 on the radar gun, while his changeup, sitting at 81-85 mph, has made serious strides.

"The changeup has really evolved for him. It's a real weapon to lefthanded hitters. You see all that stuff, and then you see a guy who's pitching with good control," Ostrander said. "He's proven he can maintain his velocity with the fastball. I mean, he's still up to 92 and such in the ninth inning. He has strength and stamina, and he's maintaining his stuff.

"He has really good depth on his changeup, and it sometimes comes across as a slider, but it's not a slider. It's really been a plus pitch," he said. "He's just found a great routine and he has great feel for things. I think what he's done this season is really going to help his future. He knows what he's capable of doing, and he's going to take that with him the rest of the way."

With the way his season has gone, it's hard to imagine that Sandlin once was somewhat of an unknown to some in the industry.

But now, he's excelling as a starter, and everyone is taking notice.

No more questions need to be asked.

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
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Brnovich Named to 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team

May 17, 2018

ELON, N.C. - Elon University sophomore right-handed pitcher Kyle Brnovich has accepted an invitation to join the 24-man USA Baseball Collegiate National Team roster this summer.

"This is a huge honor and I'm very excited to represent the United States this summer," said Brnovich. "I'm very thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to playing the game I love for my country."

The 2017 Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, Brnovich ranks second nationally with 132 strikeouts this season. That number is an Elon single-season record and ranks 10th on the CAA's single-season chart. The resident of Milton, Ga., also ranks among the national leaders with a 1.83 ERA (26th), 4.79 hits allowed per nine innings (fourth), 13.45 strikeouts per nine innings (sixth) and a 0.91 WHIP (20th). Brnovich is 7-2 on the year and has held opponents to a .156 batting average over 88.1 innings of work.

Brnovich has made 13 starts this season and has struck out 10 or more eight times. He has twice fanned a season-best 14 hitters and has thrown one complete game. He is on the watch list for both the Golden Spikes Award and the College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year Award.

Over his two seasons at Elon, Brnovich has gone 13-7 with a 2.47 ERA. His 235 career strikeouts rank fifth in program history.

"I am so excited and thrilled for Kyle," said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy who served as the pitching coach for the Collegiate National Team in 2009. "Very few get the chance to represent their country. To be a part of USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I know he will take full advantage of. Kyle has had an awesome spring and I know he will work very hard to duplicate that with Team USA. USA Baseball is getting a great one!"

Brnovich will be the first Elon baseball player to don the Stars and Stripes.

Brnovich will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the top collegiate players in the country and for a top-notch coaching staff. The head coach of the 2018 team is LSU's Paul Mainieri. East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin will serve as an assistant, while Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor will be the team's pitching coach. Serving as the team's bench coach will be Jim Hendry of the New York Yankees. Jorge Perez of St. Thomas will also serve as an assistant coach.

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28-July 2. The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 with games being held in North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. Finally, the team will participate in the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18. Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube.

For more information on the USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.

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Jung Invited To USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Camp

May 15, 2018

LUBBOCK, Texas - Texas Tech baseball's Josh Jung has been invited to play for USA Baseball's 2018 Collegiate National Team this summer, it was announced today.

The sophomore infielder is the ninth Red Raider to earn an invitation from USA Baseball and marks back-to-back years the Red Raiders have had a student-athlete play for the squad. Last summer, left-handed pitcher Steven Gingery pitched for the collegiate national team.

In 1997, catcher Josh Bard and RHP Monty Ward played for the team, while Larry Hays served as assistant coach. The next year, Bard joined RHP Shane Weight on the squad, as outfielder Miles Durham was also selected for the team. Outfielder Roger Kieschnick was named to the summer squad in 2006 & 2007, while RHP Chad Bettis pitched for the stars & stripes in 2009.

Jung has started all 50 games this season for the Red Raiders at third base and leads the team in several offensive categories. He paces the squad in hits (80), RBI (69) and runs (57), while putting together a team-leading 27 multi-hit & 20 multi-RBI performances at the plate in 2018.

He also leads the Big 12 in batting average, hits, RBI, runs, total bases and on-base percentage heading into the final weekend of the regular season, helping Tech lead the conference in average. Jung has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice and earned NCBWA Co-Hitter of the Week honors after hitting for the cycle on April 17 at New Mexico.

The 2018 Collegiate National Team will train at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, and compete against teams in the Coastal Plain League from June 26-27, before hosting the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series from June 28-July 2. All seven of these games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com and Facebook Live. The team will then host the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9.

Jung and the Red Raiders return to action for their final series of the regular season on May 17-19, traveling to Stillwater to take on No. 14 Oklahoma State at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

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GSA Spotlight: Joey Murray

May 10, 2018

Kent State has been the most consistent program in the North since the 1980s. The Golden Flashes recently reached the 30-win plateau for the 30th consecutive season - a streak that includes eight 40-plus win seasons, 12 trips to regionals and a run to the 2012 College World Series. The program has kept winning through coaching changes, from Bob Todd to Danny Hall to Rick Rembielak to Scott Stricklin to Jeff Duncan - there hasn't been a dip.

There are some common threads running through all those years of success. For one thing, Kent State always seems to have a big-time ace atop the rotation, especially in the last 22 years under pitching coach Mike Birkbeck. KSU has produced a couple of first-round picks this decade (Andrew Chafin and Eric Lauer, whose 0.69 ERA in 2016 was college baseball's lowest in 30-plus years). The Flashes have produced six big league pitchers, from Matt Guerrer to John Van Benschoten, Dirk Hayhurst to Andy Sonnanstine to Chris Carpenter and Chafin.

So it means something to be the Friday night ace at Kent State. And Joey Murray is a worthy bearer of the flame for the Flashes.

Murray, a junior righthander, is well on his way to becoming Kent State's latest All-American. Through 12 starts, he's 8-1, 1.02 with 117 strikeouts and a .146 opponents' batting average in 79.1 innings. His name is all over the national leaderboards - he ranks first in fewest hits allowed per nine innings, fourth in ERA and strikeouts, 10th in WHIP.

"Obviously when you're rolling out a Friday guy like Joey Murray, it's kind of like rolling Lauer out two years ago," said Duncan, Kent State's fifth-year head coach. "At times it seems unhittable."

Not bad for a guy who flew under the radar during his high school days in Dublin, Ohio.

"He was the last recruit we got in that class," Duncan said. "We got him at an unsigned senior showcase at the beginning of the fall of his senior year. Birky and I were sitting behind home plate and saw him strike out 16 of 18 hitters. And that's exactly what he's doing now, basically. Probably at that point in time, the velo was 84-86, but he's a big kid, he's strong, he's got a big lower half. The arm really works, it really works, and I don't know how he slipped through the cracks, we were lucky."

Duncan and Birkbeck saw the feel for pitching and the ability to miss bats at a young age, and they envisioned that Murray would add velocity as he matured. Now he's a 6-foot-2, 185-pound workhorse who pitches in the 88-91 mph range and bumps 92.

Last week against Bowling Green, Murray found another gear from the third inning on, which is pretty typical for him, according to Duncan. He pitched at 90-92 from the third to the sixth, and that's when he really racked up many of his 14 strikeouts over seven shutout innings of work.

Murray has a quality four-pitch mix, and Duncan said all four pitches have gotten just a little bit better since last year, when he went 6-1, 1.80 with 110 strikeouts in 75 innings. He can use all four pitches to keep hitters off balance, but his fastball and downer curve are his out pitches, accounting for most of his punchouts.

"He's very deceptive, really good fastball command," Duncan said. "Now this guy, it's one of those things, every Friday night he starts, we've got 15 to 20 scouts coming in to watch him, and they're not saying he's lighting the gun up, but man, the swings and misses he gets, I think he's third in the country in Ks, he's averaged almost two strikeouts an inning since he's been here. It's been pretty phenomenal, his spin rate out of his hand is unbelievable. It's like his fastball rises, got a rising action to it, guys have a tough time getting on top, will either pop him up or swing right through it. Then he's got a really good breaking ball to go with it, changes eye level. He'll go fastball up in the zone then his breaking ball will start up in the zone, and it's really late 12-6 so it breaks down. He'll pitch in, he'll use all four points of the plate with his fastball. … He throws across his body a little bit, high three-quarters, and it comes out of his hand - it's one of those fastballs that look like it's 97."

Duncan said he expects Murray to be a high-rounds pick based on his arsenal, his command and his superb performance over multiple seasons. But he also stands out for his competitiveness - he sets the tone for Kent State every Friday night. Duncan describes his personality this way: "Give me the ball on Friday. And don't take me out. That's the best way to put it."

D1Baseball.com is your online home for college baseball scores, schedules, standings, statistics, analysis, features, podcasts and prospect coverage.
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Matt Wallner Named to 2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team

May 10, 2018

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss sophomore outfielder/pitcher Matt Wallner (Forest Lake, Minn.) has accepted an invitation to join the 24-man USA Baseball Collegiate National Team roster this summer.

"It is an absolute honor to represent my country and play alongside the best amateur players in the world," said Wallner. "None of this would be possible without the help of so many individuals including my parents, coaches and teammates along the way."

The reigning national Freshman of the Year by Baseball America, D1Baseball.com and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, earned a trip to the team's training camp last summer following his freshman campaign that saw him collect a .336 average with 19 home runs and 63 RBI. His homer total ranked No. 1 among freshman a year ago, while his RBI number ranked second.

The 2018 Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year holds a .355 batting average with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 49 runs batted in to go along with a .609 slugging percentage and a .484 on-base percentage. He is one of three players to start in all 47 games for the program that has been ranked all season in the Top 25 and currently holds a 35-12 record. His average, home run and RBI totals each rank second on the club this season.

Of his 11 home runs, three have been grand slams of which he totaled those in a six-game period. In addition, he has made just one error in the outfield in 91 attempts. As a pitcher, Wallner is 1-0 with five saves over eight appearances with a 4.00 earned run average. He has fanned nine in nine innings of work.

Wallner is the second Southern Miss baseball player asked to play for his country as Tony Phillips played on the 1991 Collegiate National Team that participated in the Pan American Games in Cuba that summer.

The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will participate in three international friendship series in 2018, beginning with the 18th USA vs. Chinese Taipei International Friendship Series that will be held in North Carolina from June 28 - July 2. The U.S. will then compete in the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series from July 3-9 in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series in Cuba from July 13-18. Seven Collegiate National Team games will be streamed live on USABaseball.com, as well as Facebook Live and YouTube.

For more information on USA Baseball and the Collegiate National Team, follow @USABaseball on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and @USABaseballCNT on Twitter.

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USA Baseball Announces 2018 12U National Team Staff

May 8, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. -- USA Baseball announced the 2018 12U National Team staff on Tuesday, highlighted by the naming of four-time national team assistant coach Todd Fine as the manager. Fine was the pitching coach for the 2015 and 2017 12U National Teams that won a gold medal at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-12 Baseball World Cup.

Coming off winning its third consecutive WBSC world championship, the 2018 12U team will head to Aguascalientes, Mexico, looking for its first-ever gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am "A" Championships.

"Todd has been a mainstay within our 12U National Team program staffs for years and we are honored to have him take the reins of the team in 2018," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director at USA Baseball. "He has a plethora of coaching experience within multiple USA Baseball national team programs and we are confident in his ability to lead our 12U National Team in a positive and influential way."

Joining Fine on the 2018 12U team staff is pitching coach Jason Sekany and assistant coaches RJ Farrell and Marc Wiese.

Fine's résumé is laden with USA Baseball experience, highlighted by four stints as the pitching coach for the 12U National Team from 2014-2017. He has also coached at the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 18U National Team Trials. Fine is the founder and CEO of Top Tier Baseball based out of Chicago, Illinois, where under his guidance he has coached over 500 college baseball players, 63 Major League Baseball draft selections and eight MLB alums.

As the pitching coach for the 12U National Team from 2014-2017, the teams won two world championships and two silver medals. His pitching staffs have held a cumulative ERA of 3.21 and has an overall record of 30-5.

"I am extremely humbled and excited to be named manager of this team," said Fine. "Me and the rest of our staff are looking forward to putting together a team made up of athletes with both high level talent and character. Our sights are set on bringing home a Pan American Championships gold medal for the first time in 12U National Team history."

Sekany returns to the 12U National Team coaching staff in 2018 where he will serve as the team's pitching coach. He was an assistant coach for the inaugural 2013 and 2015 12U National Teams that won a gold medal at the IBAF U-12 Baseball World Cups and has served on the task force at the USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS) and Tournament of Stars. A second-round selection by the Boston Red Sox in the 1996 MLB Amateur Draft, Sekany is the founder and lead pitching instructor at The Pitching Center in Pleasanton, California, and a varsity coach at Granada High School (Livermore, Calif.). In addition to his responsibilities at The Pitching Center and Granada High School, he is also the 15U, 16U and 17U NTIS regional director for Northern California.

Serving as an assistant coach for the 12U National Team coaching staff for the second consecutive year is RJ Farrell. Farrell is in his fifth year as the head coach at Rancho Cucamonga High School (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) where five of his players have gone on to play collegiate baseball. Prior to coaching at Rancho Cucamonga High School, he was an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Patten University (Oakland, Calif.) from 2006-2008. He has worked with USA Baseball at the 11U NTIS, 12U National Open and the USA Baseball Futures Invitational, and also served as a 12U National Team Trials coach in 2016.

Wiese is making his national team coaching debut in 2018 after serving on coaching staffs at the 2016 and 2017 12U National Team Trials, and the 2015 17U National Team Development Program. He is the current head coach at Puyallup High School (Puyallup, Wash.) and has led the Vikings to 11 straight South Puget Sound League titles and two state championships (2014, 2017). Wiese, who was drafted in the 1987 MLB First Year Player Draft by the New York Mets, also led Puyallup High School to the 2015 USA Baseball National High School Invitational, finishing with a 3-1 record and outscoring its opponents 20-6.

The coaching staff will be joined by Bill Krejci, who will travel as the 12U National Team's business manager. Krejci has been involved with USA Baseball for the last 23 years.

The 12U athlete identification process began with the 2017 11U NTIS and will continue with the 11U Futures Invitational at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, from June 21 - June 24; followed by the 12U National Open in Castaic, California from July 23 - 25.

The 2018 USA Baseball 12U National Team will hold its Trials from July 26-28 at VTV Baseball Complex immediately following the 12U National Open. The team will reconvene for training from August 19-22 before traveling to Aguascalientes, Mexico, for the 2018 COPABE Pan Am "A" Championships from August 25-September 2.

For more information on the 12U National Team, follow along on Twitter @USABaseball and @USABaseball12U.

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GSA Spotlight: Kody Clemens

May 2, 2018

The word choice was ironic.

Texas Longhorns second baseman Kody Clemens, youngest son of seven-time Cy Young winner "Rocket" Roger Clemens, was asked if he ever tried pitching.

As it turns out, Clemens pitched a bit as a closer at Houston's Memorial High, where he also competed as a shortstop, second baseman and center fielder.

"I didn't have the rocket arm," said Clemens, no pun intended. "I didn't have crazy velocity. I think I was at 88 (mph)."

But even without a rocket arm, Clemens has a boomerang bat, able to turn around pitches and send them back from whence they came like a torpedo.

Clemens, a 6-foot, 185-pound junior who bats left and throws right, is batting .333/.437/.644, ranking third in the Big 12 in OPS (1.081), tied for second in homers (13) and third in RBIs (50) and slugging.

Batting in the 3-hole, Clemens has led 24th-ranked Texas to a 30-17 record overall, 12-6 in the league.

"He was a quiet workhorse for us last year - didn't say much," Texas catcher Michael McCann said. "This year, he has the same work ethic, but he's more vocal.

"His personality and his leadership have taken over. He has the ability to communicate with a lot of different personality types. He takes the time to get to know everyone."

McCann said people gravitate toward Clemens.

"Eyes are drawn to him," McCann said. "He's one of the shining lights on the team. When he steps up in the box, everyone says, 'OK, what is he going to do now? How many runs is he going to drive in?'"

Best Of The Brothers?

Roger Clemens was on the mound when his Longhorns won the 1983 College World Series, and now - 35 years later - Kody is hoping to win his own ring.

Kody, one of four brothers, is also aiming to be the best athlete of the bunch.

Koby signed with Texas but never played for the Longhorns, signing a pro contract as an eighth-round pick. A corner infielder/catcher, he never made it to the majors and is now a coach in the Astros farm system.

Kory is "an amazing chef," according to Kody, and, for a while, owned a restaurant that had a great baseball name, "Catch 22."

Kacy, who turns 24 in July, is in Class A for the Blue Jays as a first baseman. He was their eighth-round pick last year after a solid Longhorns career.

David Pierce, who took over as Texas coach in June of 2016, was asked about Kody's pro potential.

"I know he will be drafted," Pierce said. "I would rather not comment on what range, but I'm 100 percent certain it will be in the top 10 rounds.

"I'm hoping pro organizations recognize that he's one of the top hitters in college baseball."

That Clemens enjoys that status is a testament to his resilient nature.

He had elbow surgery in August of 2016 after suffering a non-baseball injury. The issue stemmed from wrestling with one of his brothers, and the severity of the injury and how it happened threatened his career, especially since it occurred before he had played a game for Pierce.

Clemens said that just two minutes after the incident with Kory - who is a big man at 6-foot and 280 pounds - his elbow was throbbing.

The next day, it was worse - his elbow was swollen, and an MRI revealed that Tommy John surgery was necessary.

"It was a freak accident," said Clemens, whose father - ironically - never had elbow surgery despite pitching 24 years in the majors. "It was terrible that first month after surgery - I had to be so delicate with my elbow.

"But every week I was able to do a little bit more, and when I was finally able to swing a bat off a tee I had a huge smile on my face."

Comeback For Clemens

In his first season post-surgery, Clemens made 46 starts as Texas' DH and one at second base. He slashed .241/.356/.365 with five homers, six doubles and 23 RBIs.

Then he faced more adversity after he accepted an invitation to play in the prestigious Cape Cod League for the first time in his career. But since he was still two weeks away from being able to play second base, his Cape League coach released him.

Undeterred, Clemens joined his father in Boston and was able to take batting practice at Fenway Park. He then went home to Houston and worked on his speed and agility, and that has paid dividends this year.

"He committed himself to playing defense," Pierce said. "There's no doubt his best position is second base. He has the ability to play the left side - he has enough arm strength.

"But he has gotten better and better at second, figuring out the different angles to throw from and the timing and footwork."

Clemens, who has a 3.0 grade-point average and is majoring in Corporate Communications with a minor in Business, could be a coach one day or perhaps work in sports marketing.

But a major league career is his primary goal, and that powerful bat of his will be his calling card going forward.

"He's a great hitter for average, and his power is showing up because he's more confident now," Pierce said. "He has the ability to foul off borderline pitches and work for the next one … Great two-strike hitter, very disciplined and a good on-base guy."

Pierce said he wants Clemens to continue to focus on the middle of the field when he is hitting and then react to the pitch rather than going in thinking pull.

Clemens, meanwhile, seems eager to try pro ball after this June's draft, and he's been around the game his whole life, so he knows the routine.

"It's the scouts' job to understand where I will go," Clemens said. "Whatever team likes me the most will take me."

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Inaugural 16U National Team Development Program Staff Announced

May 2, 2018

DURHAM, N.C. - The staff for the inaugural 2018 16U National Team Development Program (NTDP) was revealed by USA Baseball on Wednesday. Three-time USA Baseball national team coach and seven-time NTDP field coordinator, Eric Kibler, has been selected to serve as the 16U event's first-ever field coordinator.

University of Dayton Head Coach Jayson King will join Kibler on staff as the manager of the Stripes team, while Bill Mosiello, who is currently the associate head coach at Texas Christian University, will manage the Stars team.

Coaches and evaluators will assess 36 athletes during the NTDP week and are made up of former professional players, respected collegiate and high school coaches and professional scouts.

Kibler, who recently finished his 36th season as the head coach at Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.), served as the field coordinator for the inaugural 14U and 17U NTDPs in 2012. He then reprised that role for the 14U NTDP in 2013 and 2014, and for the 17U NTDP in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Kibler led Horizon High School to six state titles, 17 regionals and three runner-up finishes in the state tournament since he started in 1981. On March 6, 2018, he earned his 800th win, making him the winningest coach in Arizona high school baseball history. In April, he was named a USA Baseball Sport Development contributor for 2018.

In addition, he helped to guide the 2009 and 2010 16U National Teams to first-place finishes at the International Baseball Federation World Youth Championships and the COPABE Pan American "AA" Youth Championships, respectively. He was also a member of the staff that led the 18U National Team to the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal.

Gregg Ritchie, who has also been named to the 2018 18U National Team and 17U NTDP staffs, will join Kibler on staff as the lead hitting instructor during the event. Ritchie also previously served as a member of the 2017 18U National Team staff that led the stars and stripes to its fourth consecutive World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal.

Two-time USA Baseball alumnus and current Georgia Tech assistant coach, Eric Patterson, and Greg Brown, who is currently the head coach at Nova Southeastern University, will assist King as the position coaches for the Stripes. Hutchinson Community College Head Coach, Ryan Schmidt, will serve as the team's pitching coach.

Mosiello will be assisted on the Stars staff by Mayville State University Head Coach, Scott Berry, and Grambling State University Head Coach, James Cooper, who will serve as position coaches. In addition, Santa Clara University Head Coach, Rusty Filter, will lead the team's pitching staff.

USA Baseball will utilize a rolling invitation process for the 16U NTDP participants in 2018. The players will be selected from the 2017 USA Baseball National Team Identification Series (NTIS), the 2018 16U National Team Championships in Arizona and Florida, and through recommendations from scouts, coaches and the amateur baseball community.

The USA Baseball National Team Development Program offers athletes an opportunity to connect with USA Baseball staff to better prepare for future national team experience. The program includes skill development sessions, off-field education seminars, intrasquad Stars vs. Stripes games and exposure to professional scouts, college recruiters and the 18U National Team staff and task force.

The 2018 16U NTDP will take place August 4-7 at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.

The coaching staff and their bios are as follows:

Name, NTDP Position
Scott Berry, Stars Position Coach
Greg Brown, Stripes Position Coach
James Cooper, Stars Position Coach
Rusty Filter, Stars Pitching Coach
Eric Kibler, Field Coordinator
Jayson King, Stripes Manager
Bill Mosiello, Stars Manager
Eric Patterson, Stripes Position Coach
Gregg Ritchie, Hitting Rover
Ryan Schmidt, Stripes Pitching Coach

Scott Berry has been at the helm of the Mayville State University baseball program for 36 years. In that time, Berry's teams have won 23 regular season conference championships (including 17 in a row from 1986-2002), 22 conference tournament championships, and have made 28 appearances in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoffs. He earned his 1,000th career win on April 18, 2016, and he holds a career record of 1,058-585-1 as a head coach. In 2002, Berry was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame for Baseball. 2018 will mark his first USA Baseball coaching experience.

Greg Brown is currently serving as the head coach at Nova Southeastern University. In 2016, he was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Division II National Coach of the Year after leading his team to the program's first-ever NCAA Division II National Championship. Before his time with the Sharks, Brown worked as an assistant coach at Broward Community College and was an area scout for the Houston Astros. He also played minor league baseball for three years in the Miami Marlins organization. This is Brown's third coaching stint with USA Baseball. He previously served as a coach at the 2013 and 2014 Tournament of Stars.

Currently in his seventh season as the head coach at Grambling State University, James Cooper will make his USA Baseball coaching debut at the 16U National Team Development Program (NTDP). He started his career at GSU as a player before becoming an assistant coach and then taking over at the helm. As a head coach, he led the Tigers to a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship in his first year. As a player, he was second team all-conference twice and received first-team All-SWAC honors after his senior campaign. He was selected in 33rd round of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Houston Astros.

Rusty Filter is in his first year as the head coach at Santa Clara University after serving as an associate head coach at Stanford University for eight years. He previously coached at the 2015 and 2016 Tournament of Stars. Filter, a graduate of San Diego State University, spent a combined 21 years as a student-athlete and coach for the Aztecs. During his time at Stanford and San Diego State, he tutored notable MLB pitchers such as Stephen Strasburg, Addison Reed and Mark Appel.

Eric Kibler recently finished his 36th season as the head coach at Horizon High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. In that time, he led the program to six state titles. In addition, Kibler won 17 regionals and had three runner-up finishes in the state tournament since he started in 1981. On March 6, 2018, he earned his 800th win with Horizon High School, making him the winningest coach in Arizona high school baseball history. Kibler has tutored 28 players that were selected in the MLB Draft and has seen over 150 of his players go on to play college baseball. Recently named a Sport Development contributor for 2018 by USA Baseball, Kibler has a long history with the organization that includes winning three gold medals. He helped to guide the 2009 and 2010 16U National Teams to first-place finishes at the International Baseball Federation World Youth Championships and the COPABE Pan American "AA" Youth Championships, respectively. He was also a member of the staff that led the 18U National Team to the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal. In addition, he was also the field coordinator for the inaugural 14U and 17U National Team Development Programs (NTDP) in 2012. He then reprised that role for the 14U NTDP in 2013 and 2014, and for the 17U NTDP in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

Currently in his first year as the head coach at the University of Dayton, Jayson King returns to the National Team Development Program (NTDP) after first coaching at the 17U NTDP in 2013. He was also a member of the coaching staff for the 2014 18U National Team that won a gold medal in the 2014 COPABE Pan American "AAA" Championships. In addition, he coached at the 2014 Women's NTDP. Prior to his time at Dayton, he spent time coaching at Army and was the head coach at Franklin Pierce University for 18 years. In his time at Franklin Pierce, King led the Ravens to seven NCAA Regional appearances and seven trips to the NCAA Division II College World Series. Under the seven-time American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year's tutelage, 25 Ravens were drafted in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

TCU's Bill Mosiello is back in the USA Baseball coaching ranks in 2018 after helping to lead the 2017 18U National Team to its fourth consecutive World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup gold medal. Currently in his fifth season as the associate head coach and hitting coach for the Horned Frogs, he holds over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience and seven years of experience as a manager in the Minors League. He helped lead TCU to four consecutive College World Series appearances from 2014-2017 and under his guidance has led the Big 12 Conference in batting average for two of the last three seasons. Mosiello was also a manager in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system from 2009-2011, where he coached Mike Trout for nearly two seasons. He also spent four years coaching in the New York Yankees organization. Mosiello also coached USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner Phil Nevins while serving as an assistant coach under legendary coach Augie Garrido at Cal State Fullerton.

An alumnus of the 2002 and 2003 Collegiate National Team's, Eric Patterson is making his USA Baseball coaching debut in 2018. Currently in his first year as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech, Patterson played for the Yellow Jackets from 2002-2004 before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2004 MLB First-Year Player Draft. He made his Major League debut August 6, 2007, for the Cubs and also played for the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres until 2011.

Gregg Ritchie will join the 16U National Team Development Program (NTDP) following stints with the 2016, 2017 and 2018 17U NTDP coaching staffs. In addition, he served as an assistant coach for the 2017 18U National Team. In that role, he helped lead Team USA to an undefeated record and a fourth consecutive World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) U-18 Baseball World Cup title. Under his direction, the team hit .273 and had a .418 slugging percentage, with 16 doubles, five triples and six home runs over nine games. He also served as a coach at the 2016 18U Trials. Ritchie is in his sixth season at the helm for George Washington University, where he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year in 2013. That year, he led the Colonials to their first postseason berth since 2006 and then followed that with back-to-back postseason appearances in 2015 and 2016. He began his coaching career in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he worked at various levels for 10 years, before serving as the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2011 and 2012. Ritchie has also been named to the 2018 18U National Team staff.

Ryan Schmidt is the head coach at Hutchinson Community College. In 2017, Schmidt led his team to the highest national ranking in program history (No. 3). Prior to his time with the Blue Dragons, he was named Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Coach of the Year while at Pratt Community College in 2012. Schmidt, who pitched at Kansas University from 1999-2000, has also coached at Barton Community College. 2018 marks Schmidt's fourth year in a row working with USA Baseball after he previously served on the Tournament of Stars staff in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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Bat Decertification - Easton Ghost X 30/20

May 1, 2018

As of Thursday, May 3, 2018, the Easton Ghost X 30/20 USABat has been decertified.

Effective immediately and until further notice, the bats below have been decertified by USA Baseball and are no longer approved for play in leagues that have adopted the USABat standard, including but not limited to American Amateur Baseball Congress (AABC), Babe Ruth & Cal Ripken Baseball, Dixie Youth & Dixie Boys Baseball, Little League Baseball, NABF Baseball, and PONY Baseball.

USABat: Easton Ghost X 30/20
Model Number(s): YBB18GX10 30/20 (D: 2 5/8), LL18GHX 30/20 (D: 2 5/8)
Length: 30" (-10)

If any of these bats are used during competition, it should be considered an illegal and non-compliant bat, and subject to league rules concerning the use of illegal or unapproved bats. Coaches and team administrators are encouraged to check their team's bats and withhold these bats from play. League administrators should share this information with their umpires.

A full list of approved bats can be found at USABat.com. A list of decertified bats can be found at USABat.com/Decertified-Bats.

Customer Information: Any questions regarding returns, refunds or warranty claims for the Easton Ghost X 30/20 should be directed to Easton via https://ghostdecert.easton.com or at 1-844-531-7079.

Any questions regarding this decertification may be directed to USA Baseball at USABat@USABaseball.com.

Contact: Russell Hartford - USABat@usabaseball.com, (919) 474-8721 x232
OR Brad Young - MediaRelations@usabaseball.com, (919) 474-8721 x212

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