Minor leads USA past Cuba, 1-0

July 6, 2008

Read Goldy's USA Blog - Updated July 6  |  View Box Score

HAARLEM, The Netherlands - Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas) caught pinch-hitter Yoandrys Urgelles looking on a 2-2 slider for the third out of the ninth, stranding runners at second and third as the USA Baseball National Team defeated Cuba 1-0 in Sunday's Haarlem Baseball Week pool-play action at Pim Mullier Stadium. Team USA improved to 9-0 on its 2008 tour and is the only remaining undefeated team at Haarlem Baseball Week.

Volz worked out of precarious situations in both the eighth and ninth innings to record his third save of the tour and his second save in as many games at the Haarlem Baseball Week.

In the eighth, Volz entered the game with the bases empty and two outs and promptly walked Michel Enriquez on four straight pitches before getting Yulieski Gourriel to end the inning on a liner to short.

Volz again faced trouble in the ninth as Frederich Cepeda reached on a one-out error and Alexis Bell followed with a single. Volz struck out Rolando Merino, but a wild pitch pushed the potential tying run to third base and the potential go-ahead run to second. They would get no closer, though, as Volz struck out Urgelles to end the game.

That made a winner of starter Mike Minor (Vanderbilt; Chapel Hill, Tenn.), who held Cuba scoreless on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts over 6.1 innings. Kyle Gibson (Missouri; Greenfield, Ind.) struck out the final two batters of the seventh, stranding a runner at second in the process. Chris Hernandez (Miami-FL; Miami, Fla.) retired the lone batter he faced in the eighth.

The game saw a total of 10 hits - five by each team - as pitching and defense dominated the night. Both teams squandered a handful of scoring opportunities. Team USA had runners at second and third with one out in the third but could not capitalize. The U.S. squad also had a runner thrown out at home in the seventh.

Cuba's scoring chances were hurt by two inning-ending double plays. In the third, U.S. third baseman Tommy Mendonca (Fresno State; Turlock, Calif.) started an around-the-hour double play to get the National Team out of a first-and-third, one-out jam. In the fifth, shortstop Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.) flipped to second baseman Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Corona, Calif.) while falling down to start another first-and-third, one-out, inning-ending double play.

Team USA scored the game's lone run in the bottom of the fifth, and even that run did not come easily. Mendonca struck out to open the inning, but he reached first safely on a third-strike wild pitch. A pair of walks loaded the bases with one out, and Colon followed with a single up the middle that plated Mendonca. The U.S. squad had a chance to add more; however, a Josh Fellhauer (Cal State Fullerton; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) line drive was right at shortstop Eduardo Paret, who doubled off Matt den Dekker (Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) to end the threat and the inning.

Cuban starter Norge Vera scattered two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3.1 scoreless innings. Yuliesky Gonzalez, the first of three Cuban relievers, took the loss; he allowed the fifth-inning run and two walks with two strikeouts over 1.1 innings. Colon's game-winning hit was the only hit Gonzalez allowed.

The USA Baseball National Team returns to action Tuesday, facing the Dutch Antilles as pool play continues at the Haarlem Baseball Week. First pitch is scheduled for 8 a.m. EDT at Pim Mullier Stadium.

NOTE: USA Baseball announced Sunday the addition of Chris Woodward (Coastal Carolina; Markle, Ind.) to the 2008 National Team roster. Woodward, who is scheduled to join the National Team later this week, hit .364 with seven home runs and 45 RBI en route to earning Freshman All-America honors this spring for Coastal Carolina. He also posted a school-record .540 on base percentage and collected 15 doubles. Woodward, an infielder, replaces right-handed pitcher Kevin Rhoderick, who left the National Team due prior to the team's departure for Europe.



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