The United States National Team has now achieved a 2-0 record at the Baseball Americas Qualifier. In winning this, the USA has not only clinched but swept Group A. Among the competition in Group A, the USA has had to face Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. This puts the team in a prime position to win the tournament with a strong performance in the super round.
Game 1: USA defeats Nicaragua 7-1
USA’s momentum began early in their 7-1 victory of Nicaragua. They won this game on the backs of a tremendous pitching day. When Matthew Liberatore provided a solid, five-inning, one-run start, the bullpen held Nicaragua scoreless. Liberatore is a top pitcher within the St. Louis Cardinals organization and the #37 prospect in baseball. Brandon Dickson stood out among the relievers, throwing two no-hit innings while also striking out three batters.
Former Cincinnati Red Todd Frazier knocked in the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly, and then an Eric Filia single drove in another run to make the score 2-0 in the first inning. In the 4th inning, no one on base, Mark Kolozsvary, sent a solo home run to center field, extending the lead. Kolozsvary is currently a catcher in the Reds organization. The USA added one run in the 6th and put the game away with 3 RBIs from singles by Luke Williams and Jarren Duran.
Nicaragua has since reached a 1-2 record in Group A. They defeated Puerto Rico and fell to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Game 2: USA defeats Dominican Republic 8-6
The United States rode a four-run sixth inning to come from behind and defeat the Dominican Republic 8-6. New York Yankee prospect Trevor Lane received the win in relief of Tampa prospect Joe Ryan. The loss was given to Luís González of the Dominican Republic failed to record an out while allowing two earned runs.
Joe Ryan’s start kept the United States in the lead with his starting performance. Ryan pitched 4.2 innings allowing 3 earned runs and fanning 10 batters. After he left the game, the US’ 4-3 lead turned into a 5-4 deficit entering the bottom of the sixth inning. They loaded the bases in time for Logan Forsythe to hit a game-tying single before Nick Allen drove in another. With two runners on for the top of the order, Luke Williams ripped a triple to left-center field, putting the United States up 8-5.
Earlier in the fourth inning Mark Kolozsvary hit another home run, his second in two tournament games.
While falling here, the Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico and Nicaragua in Group A to advance to the Super Group. You can hear the full recap of this game on MLB Daily, your 1-stop-shop for daily baseball content.Listen to “095 | Vladdy is the Greatest Buffalo Blue Jay of All Time, 6/1 game recaps + Happy Tony Day” on Spreaker.
Game 3: Cancelled
Who doesn’t love Florida’s beautiful weather?
The United States’ third game against Puerto Rico was canceled. The game was originally set to be played on June 2nd at 7 pm. Rain forced the game to be pushed to June 3rd at 11 am before the first pitch was thrown. The game then began at its new time, and the United States attained a 6-1 lead going into the last half-inning necessary for an official game. This was when a downpour began, and the game was later called off.
By winning Group A, the United States advance to the Super Group. Here they will play the two remaining teams from Group B, Venezuela, and Canada. The team with the best record after these next two games will win the Baseball Americas Qualifier. The winner of the tournament automatically advances to the Tokyo Olympics.
The United States play Canada next, June 4th at 7 pm. The game will be streamable on ESPN+.