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By JAMES ALLAN
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The United States had to settle for a silver medal after falling 10-0 to Japan in the World University Games gold medal contest Tuesday night at Tianmu Baseball Stadium.
Despite the finals loss, the University of Iowa is the first American representative to advance to the gold medal baseball game and the Hawkeyes are the first United States team to win a medal in Universiade history.
Japan took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before breaking the game open with a six-run second. Japan scored six runs on five hits in the frame against UI starter Sammy Lizarraga and reliever Jack Dreyer.
QUOTING USA TEAM HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was a great experience for our guys, a once in a lifetime, and they’ll never forget this. It is invaluable for this team heading into the fall and winter and into our spring season. We threw three of our freshmen out there and to put them in this environment was amazing. They’re going to benefit for this so much in February when we start our season.”
“Tonight was a wakeup call for how much we need to improve and get better before we start our regular season. It will be good motivation for our fall and offseason training.”
“Tonight was a rough game; it didn’t go as we wanted. Japan’s pitcher threw as well as he could have with four pitches and pounding the zone for strikes and his misses were competitive, forcing us to chase. It took us out of our game.”
USA TEAM NOTABLES
- USA finished 5-2 in seven games at the World University Games with its only two losses coming to gold medalist Japan.
- Japan loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but scored just one run. Grant Judkins made a leaping snare of a line drive before Justin Jenkins charged to take away a bloop single for out No. 2. Japan scored on a two-out RBI single, but Jenkins gunned down the second runner at the plate to limit the damage.
- Japan batted around in the six-run second inning with four extra base hits.
- Three Iowa pitchers put up five scoreless frames before Japan put up a three-spot in the eighth.
- Three Japan hurlers limited USA to three hits — a Robert Neustrom triple in the first, a Brett McCleary single in the fourth, and a Lorenzo Elion single in the ninth.
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