A wealth of college baseball talent will be on display at UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Wednesday, June 29. The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will take the field at 1:30 p.m. to play an intrasquad game, and at 5:05 p.m. it will take on the Santa Barbara Foresters.
Team USA, priming for trips to Taiwan, Japan and Cuba, made its 2016 debut against the Foresters at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and came away with a 10-6 victory in a game that featured 28 hits, 17 of them by the winners.
Wednesday’s game will be a homecoming for two UCSB Gauchos who have been added to the national team – shortstop Clay Fisher and pitcher Kyle Nelson. Both of them were outstanding in UCSB’s historic run to the College World Series.
History was on the minds of many, especially longtime coach-managers Bill Pintard (Foresters) and George Horton (USA), to see their squads playing in Dodger Stadium, the third oldest ballpark in the major leagues, with the mound where Sandy Koufax pitched and the basepaths where Maury Wills ran wild. Forester fans who made the trip from Santa Barbara found their choice of seats on the field level.
Louisville, the nation’s No. 2-ranked team that was upset by the Gauchos in the NCAA Super Regional, had two starters for Team USA, first baseman Brendan McKay and second baseman Devin Hairston. Fisher played shortstop in the last four innings, replacing Dalton Guthrie of top-ranked Florida.
Team USA scored seven runs in the third inning, during which the Foresters had two outfield errors, to take an 8-0 lead. Santa Barbara showed the quality of its college recruits by putting up six runs in the last five innings. Hunter Williams, a slugger from Tulane known as “Big Country,” took a big swing with the bases loaded in the seventh and came within a couple feet of a grand slam, as USA’s TJ Friedel made the catch at the wall in dead center. Williams came up again in the ninth with the bags full and hit a fly-out to the warning track in right field.
The loss dropped the Foresters’ record to 14-6. Wednesday’s game against Team USA will go for seven innings. They will play two more unofficial innings during which the teams will practice the international tie-breaker. It dictates that if a game is tied after 10 innings, the next frame will start with runners on second and third and no outs.