Cuba-USA Friendship Series: CNT Completes Sweep


The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team completed an historic five-game sweep of Cuba with a 5-3 win on Tuesday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

NC State’s Carlos Rodon (3-0) put on a show for his hometown fans as he tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings. The left-hander allowed just two hits and fanned 11. He faced just one batter over the minimum in his time on the mound. The offense gave Rodon a lead in the first inning and Team USA never looked back as it withstood a late Cuba rally to post the victory.

With two outs in the bottom of the first Kyle Schwarber (Indiana) worked a walk. After stealing second, he scored easily on a double to left field off the bat of Michael Conforto (Oregon State) to give Team USA a 1-0 lead.

The game cruised to the fifth team as the pitchers took over the early innings. A walk to Trea Turner (NC State) to open the fifth put Team USA on the path to a 2-0 lead. He wasted no time swiping second base and was standing on third with nobody out after a wild pitch. Alex Bregman (LSU) lined a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Turner with the second run of the game.

An error by Cuba to open the sixth inning led to another Team USA run. Bradley Zimmer (San Francisco) reached on the miscue and stole second. A base hit from Taylor Sparks (UC Irvine) had runners on the corners. A pitching change didn’t slow down Team USA’s offense as Matt Chapman (Cal State Fullerton) jumped on the first pitch, singling through the right side to drive in Zimmer.

Another error by Cuba in the seventh turned into a pair of runs for Team USA as the lead grew to 5-0. Turner led off the inning with a base hit. Bregman hit what looked like a double play ball, but the throw to second was dropped and everyone was safe. Schwarber followed with a base hit to drive in Turner and a two-out base knock from Spark plated Bregman.

Cuba didn’t go quietly as it struck for three runs in the eighth to close the gap to two, 5-3. Edilse Silva led off the inning with a base hit. Yulieski Gourriel singled to give Cuba a pair of base runners for the first time in the game. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Cuba went to the bench and called on Lazaro Herrera. He delivered a three-run home run to center field. A walk followed, but a strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play ended Cuba’s threat.

Ryan Burr (Arizona State) struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixth save of the summer, locking up the historical sweep. Preston Morrison (TCU) and Chris Diaz (Miami, Fla.) pitched the seventh and eighth innings for Team USA.

The 2013 Collegiate National Team wraps up the summer tour with a 20-3 record overall. The squad was 13-0 in exhibition contests and 7-3 in international play.

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