USA Baseball fall to Japan slide to Bronze Medal Game in Gwangju

USA Baseball fall to Japan slide to Bronze Medal Game in Gwangju

Courtesy Cal State Fullerton Athletics

GWANGJU, Korea – July 10, 2015 – Cal State Fullerton, representing the USA, managed just four hits and committed three errors Friday in an 8-0 loss to Japan in the semifinals of the World University Games at KIA Champions Field.

The USA (2-2) will play the loser of the other semifinal between South Korea and Chinese Taipei for the bronze medal on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., 9 p.m. Friday night back in Fullerton. The game will be live streamed by FISU Livesport (

Tanner Pinkston went 2-for-3 while Dalton Blaser and Jerrod Bravo each recorded hits. Josh Vargas walked three times for the USA in the loss. 

For Japan, four hitters recorded two hits and four pitchers combined to scatter four hits and strike out 11. Japan has yet to allow an opponent to score a run in the tournament and have scored 35 runs in four games.

Japan jumped ahead early with a run in the first inning. Shortstop Tatsuhiro Shibata got aboard via an infield single to short and then first baseman Eigoro Mogi launched a triple off the base of the wall in right-center to plate the run and give Japan a 1-0 lead.

In the third, Japan added to the lead without the benefit of a hit. Shibata walked to lead off the frame and then Mogi hit a grounder to second. Tristan Hildebrandt fielded and attempted to get the lead runner at second but the throw was offline and everyone was safe on the error. The runners then each advanced 90 feet after Connor Seabold’s pickoff attempt to second bounced into center field. Shibata came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Masataka Yoshida to put Japan ahead 2-0. 

Japan broke the game open in the fifth inning, again capitalizing on USA mistakes. Shibata singled up the middle off John Gavin to lead off the frame and Mogi followed with a double to center. Yoshida then hit a nubber in front of the plate. Chris Hudgins fielded it but his throw to first was wide and went into foul territory, allowing two runs to score and Yoshida to advance all the way to third. He would score on a sacrifice fly by Shun Takayama to put Japan ahead 5-0 after five. They would add a run in the sixth and two in the seventh to put the game away.