#KUinTAIWAN: USA tops Russia to wrap up pool play
CHIAYI CITY, Taiwan – The Kansas baseball team (USA Team) erased an early 2-0 deficit to score 12-unanswered runs in a mercy-effort over Russia, 12-2, Monday afternoon (Taiwan time) at Chiayi City Baseball Field.
Russia (1-2) tagged Kansas starter Eli Davis for two runs in the first frame, but couldn’t muster a run against a loaded USA (2-1) bullpen.
“We needed to win today to make sure we advanced into the medal rounds,” head coach Ritch Price said. “For us, it was a huge day. Davis hasn’t thrown since high school and it was important to get him out on the mound. We set it up for our bullpen to have everyone throw two innings after that.”
Davis, who sat out last season rehabbing his Tommy John surgery, tossed three innings with those two runs his only blemishes. Senior-to-be Blake Goldsberry, sophomore-to-be Daniel Hegarty and junior-to-be Ryan Cyr closed out the final six frames without allowing a run.
“We have used all of our pitchers up until this point and have our pitch counts where they need to be,” Price said. “We have started every one of our position guys, and now we get a chance to play for a medal, which is the position we needed to put ourselves in.”
The pitching may have halted the Russian bats, but it was the Kansas offense that let the hurlers relax and throw strikes with a big lead.
Junior-to-be catcher Brooks Asher started the 12-run escapade with a two-run double in the second inning to erase the team’s only deficit on the day. Asher finished the day with three RBIs.
“Our goal heading into this thing was to play for a medal,” Asher said. “We have done everything we have needed to do up until now to put us in that position.”
The Jayhawks sprayed 13 hits against Russia, their most in a single game this tournament.
Less is more: In three games, Kansas has played a total of 21 innings of a possible 27. The Jayhawks run-ruled both Hong Kong (16-1 in six innings) and Russia (12-2 in eight innings), and lost 5-1 to Japan in a weather-shortened seven-inning game.
One loss: Dating back to his days as a Team USA assistant in 2008, head coach Ritch Price is 25-1 in international play. In 2008, the USA Collegiate National team went 24-0 claiming gold at the 2008 World University Baseball Championship. The only loss Price has suffered came in a rain-shortened seven-inning game to Japan, 5-1, on July 8, 2018.
Bottom of 1st
Russia tags KU starter Eli Davis for two runs off of four hits – RUS 2, USA 0.
Top of 2nd
Junior-to-be catcher Brooks Asher drives in a pair of runs to knot it up – USA 2, RUS 2.
Top of 3rd
A RBI-single by junior-to-be shortstop Benjamin Sems and a Russia error gives USA the advantage – USA 4, RUS 2.
Top of 5th
Thanks to a Russia throwing error, USA adds two more runs – USA 6, RUS 2.
Top of 6th
A triple by junior-to-be Jaxx Groshans and a double by Sems adds three more USA runs – USA 9, RUS 2.
Top of 8th
Three more USA runs tipped the scale in favor of the mercy rule – USA 12, RUS 2.
KU will play Chinese Taipei at 12 a.m. (CT) on July 10, which will also be available to watch live at YouTube.com/SSUTV.
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