Press Release International Baseball Federation, www.ibaf.org
USA PITCHING CONTINUES STRONG: Texas Rangers prospect Kasey Kiker became the fourth USA starter in as many days to dominate an opponent, striking out seven and allowing just one hit in four innings in Team USA’s win. The last four USA starters…Kiker, San Diego Padres prospect Cory Luebeke, California Angels prospect Trevor Reckling and Atlanta Braves prospect Todd Redmond…have combined to allow just one earned run, seven hits and 35 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings. On Saturday Reckling, had 11 K’s against China, which tied the mark of former Dodger and Cubs pitcher Burt Hooten, who fanned 11 consecutive batters in 1970. Sunday, Luebeke joined Reckling, Ben McDonald (1988) and Hank Woodman (2003) as the only USA pitchers to reach double digits in a game. Overall Team USA set their own World Cup record with 16 strikeouts vs. China, breaking the mark of 14 set against Brazil in 2003.
CUBANS ONLY 5-0 TEAM: Led by a pitching staff with a 1.88 ERA and 58 strikeouts vs. only 12 walks, Cubans is the lone remaining undefeated team from the first two rounds. Cuban pitcher Miguel Gonzalez struck out ten consecutive batters against Puerto Rico in his first start (13 overall in 6 1/3 innings), one short of the World Cup mark of 11 set by former Major Leaguer Burt Hooton (Dodgers and Cubs) of the USA in 1971.
WHILE HITTING KEYS AUSSIES 4-1 START: Despite being slowed by Canada Monday, the Australians continue to lead in most offensive categories, including batting average, .356, runs scored 57, hits 68 and doubles 20. Their 13 home runs trail only Team USA’s 14 as well. Phillies prospect Joel Naughton (.571), and Twins prospects Daniel Berg (.545) and James Beresford (.429) led the team in hits with nine in the five games. Six Twins prospects are on the Australia roster.
NETHERLANDS GOES 2-0 : The Netherlands improved to 2-0 on Monday with a win over Puerto Rico, just the third overall for a home country in this World Cup. Spain went 1-2 in Barcelona, while the Czech Republic, Sweden and Croatia all went 0-3, and Italy is now 0-2, making the host country just 3-13 thus far. The host country has only won the Gold Medal eight times since 1948…Cuba (’52, ’71,’73, ’84,’03) Columbia (’65), USA (’74), and Korea (’82)…Cuba’s win in 2003 was the only time in the last nine events the World Cup has been won by the host country and was also one of two times in the last nine the host country won a medal (host Chinese Taipei won Bronze in 2001).
SMOAKIN THE HOMERS: Team USA’s Justin Smoak had his second multiple home run game of the World Cup, with a pair on Monday vs. Netherlands Antilles. A Texas Rangers prospect, Smoak’s five homers are tied for the most in the Cup, while the team now leads in homers with 14.
SPAIN NOTCHES EPIC WIN: After narrow losses at home to Cuba and Puerto Rico in round one, the Spanish team, led by twin Baltimore Orioles prospects Daniel and Paco Figueroa and San Diego Padres pitching prospect Eric Gonzalez, pulled off the biggest win for Spain in World Cup history, defeating 4-0 Venezuela Monday. Paco leads the team with a .438 average, while Daniel is hitting at a .421 pace. Spain is coached by Italian Mauro Mazzotti, 50, the only manager to win three Italian Serie A championships, Rimini 1999, Bologna 2003 and 2005 and Grosseto in 2007. Currently he manages Rimini, which spent most of this past season in first place in the Italian League. Mazzotti, who has a degree physical education, speaks three languages, his native Italian, English and Spanish. He has been a scout in Europe for the Seattle Mariners and became the coordinator for the scouting in Europe for the Houston Astros.
NICARAGUA’S GONZALEZ CONTINUES TORRID PACE: Nicaragua’s third baseman Jimmy Morales Gonzalez continues to lead all hitters with 5 HR 12 RBI and a .688 average through five games. The 31 year old Gonzalez played in the Pioneer and California Leagues from ’98-2000 in the Dodgers organization, for Great Falls and San Bernadino, and has played for Granada in the Nicaraguan Professional League since then. He had 20 HR and 180 RBI with a .295 average in his three seasons in the minors.
EXTRA INNING RULE TAKES EFFECT: The IBAF’s Extra Inning Rule, designed to control the length of games, took effect for the second time Monday in the Australia-Canada game. For extra innings, each team starts their half of the inning with runners on first and second and no out. Each subsequent inning starts the same until a winner is determined. A version of the rule, starting in the 11th inning, was implemented during the Beijing Olympics and was used five times, with only one game going an additional inning before being decided. The World Baseball Classic adapted the rule, starting in the 14th inning, but it was never put into effect. Last Thursday the rule was used for the first time, with both Venezuela and the United States scoring two runs in the 10th inning before Venezuela’s four run 11th inning decided the game and gave Team USA their only loss thus far.
DUTCH ADD JERSEY SPONSOR: On Sunday it was announced that Argos Oil will be sponsoring the Dutch team during the Baseball World Cup. The name of the fast growing company in Rotterdam-Hoogvliet (400 employees, 1.5 billion euros turnover) will be displayed on the sleeves of the Dutch players the coming weeks. Argos Groep is one of the largest independent oil companies in the Netherlands and is active in the areas of trading, storage and sales of (bio)fuels and lubrication. Founder and general director is Peter Goedvolk, Havenman van het Jaar (Harbourman of the Year) 2006.