Aug. 8, 2010

Courtesy of USA Baseball

TOKYO, Japan – Alfredo Despaigne hit two home runs including a walk-off three-run home run in the 10th inning to give Cuba a 4-3 win over USA in the gold medal game Saturday night at the V FISU World University Baseball Championships inside Meiji Jingu Stadium.

For the second time in the tournament USA played an extra inning game under the International Baseball Federation’s (IBAF) tie-break rule, which was instituted in July of 2008, starts in the 10th stanza and each inning needed thereafter, base runners are placed on first and second with no outs.

Trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the 10th, Leonys Martin took second and Yoilan Cerce stood on first for Cuba. Nick Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) got Hector Olivera to fly out to center for the first out before Despaigne stepped into the box with runners on the corners and lifted a 0-1 change-up to right field clearing the bases and giving Cuba a 4-3 win.

Vladimir Garcia picked up the win despite throwing just two pitches and recording an out. Starter Miguel Gonzalez threw 151 pitches recording 14 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on eight hits.

Nick Ramirez (0-1) suffered the loss allowing three runs (one earned) on one hit in 1 1/3 inning. Ramirez entered the game in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and no outs and induced a 1-2-3 double play before getting Olivera to fly out to center, leaving the bases juiced. Gerrit Cole (UCLA) got the start and tossed seven innings of shutout ball despite giving up 10 hits. Cole fanned two batters and walked one, but got out of several jams with his inside fastball and change up that shattered three bats and broke six overall. Noe Ramirez (Cal State Fullerton) toed the rubber for one inning giving up a run on two hits with a strikeout and walk.

George Springer (Connecticut) and Nick Ramirez drove in runs for USA (16-3) in the top of the 10th. Drew Maggi (Arizona State) and Nolan Fontana (Florida) were placed on second and first for Jackie Bradley, Jr. (South Carolina) who moved both runner’s into scoring position with a sac bunt. After Ryan Wright (Louisville) walked to load the bases, Springer reached on a fielder’s choice pushing across Maggi for a 2-1 lead. Ramirez followed with a hot shot to first that scored Fontana, giving USA a two-run advantage heading into the bottom of the 10th, 3-1.

Maggi picked a great time to hit his first home run of the summer taking a 1-2 pitch off of Rodriguez to right field, giving USA a 1-0 lead in the top of the eighth inning.

Despaigne matched Maggi’s home run with a solo shot to right center in the bottom half of the ninth to knot the game at one.

During the closing ceremonies, four USA players were honored for their play during the WUBC. Maggie was named best defensive player and Wright took home top designated hitter honors. Mikie Mahtook (LSU) led the event with four stolen bases and Matt Barnes (Connecticut) had the lowest individual ERA of the tournament, 0.00 ERA.