July 29, 1998
TEMPE, Ariz. - Arizona State's Willie Bloomquist had a 3-for-5 performance with a triple, two RBI and a run scored as the USA National Baseball Team defeated Australia 8-5 on Tuesday night before a crowd of approximately 3,000 at Campo Fondo Patti. The United States evened its tournament record at the International Baseball Association's World Championships at 3-3, while Australia suffered its first defeat and fell to 5-1. With tonight's win, the Americans kept their hopes to advance to the quarterfinals alive. In order for the USA to advance, the Americans must win tonight's contest with Canada and Australia must defeat the Netherlands.
Trailing 5-2 after seven innings, the USA offense exploded for five runs as the Americans sent 11 batters to the plate and took a 7-5 lead. With one out first baseman Eric Munson and rightfielder Ryan Ludwick started the rally with singles and designated hitter Brad Cresse walked to load the bases. Third baseman Brant Ust then blooped a two-run single to rightfield. Keoni DeRenne tied the game at 5-5 with an RBI groundout to shortstop. Bloomquist put the Americans ahead to stay with a two-out triple to the right centerfield gap to plate Ust. One batter later, Bloomquist scampered home on a wild pitch to give the USA a two-run cushion.
In the top of the ninth, Bloomquist drove in another insurance run for the Americans as the USA took an 8-5 lead. After Ust and DeRenne notched consecutive two-out singles, Bloomquist lined a single to left to score Ust. with the game's final tally.
USA starting pitcher Shane Nance (LHP, So.) hurled seven innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits to earn the win, his first of the tournament. he struck out six and walked five. Closer Matt Ginter (RHP, So.) was brilliant in relief as he dominated the Australian hitters. He threw two scoreless innings, struck out four and allowed just one hit to earn the save.
The USA Baseball National Team will face Canada on Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. local time in Palermo, Italy, in the final game of the preliminary round at the World Championships. Casey Fossum is scheduled to start for the Americans.