Mathias Produces Single, Sacrifice Bunt as Team USA No-Hits Netherlands
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly junior-to-be Mark Mathias singled and laid down a key ninth-inning sacrifice bunt as Team USA defeated the Netherlands 3-0 on a combined no-hitter by four pitchers Saturday night at Pim Mulier Stadium during Honkbal Week.
Carson Fulmer (Vanderbilt), Tyler Jay (Illinois), Dillon Tate (UCSB) and Ryan Burr (Arizona State) combined to throw the third no-hitter in the history of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
Hitting third and playing first base, Mathias singled leading off the seventh inning and, two outs later, advanced to third on a Netherlands fielding error, but was stranded there.
With the game still scoreless in the top of the ninth, Christin Stewart (Tennessee) opened the frame with a single through the right side and moved into scoring position on Mathias's sacrifice bunt.
An intentional walk to DJ Stewart (Florida State) would put two on for Alex Bregman (LSU), who punched a two-strike single right back up the middle to bring in the first run of the tournament for the U.S. Tate Matheny (Missouri State) knocked in two more runs two batters later when he laced a two-out single to center.
Team USA, held to just one hit in a 1-0 loss to Japan on Friday night, collected seven hits Saturday, four in the ninth en route to the victory.
Fulmer pitched six hitless innings before being lifted due to a predetermined pitch count. The right-hander faced just two batters over the minimum, striking out five while walking two and hitting a batter but picking one of them off.
Jay, Tate and Burr followed with one scoreless inning each to complete the no-hitter.
The no-hitter was the first on international soil by the Collegiate National Team. Both of its previous no-hitters came in Cary, N.C, where it held Korea hitless on July 14, 2010, and no-hit Guatemala on July 2, 2009.
USA Baseball's Collegiate National Team, which won a three-game International Friendship Series against Japan, two games to one, earlier in the week, improved to 12-3-2 with Saturday's win and 1-1 in Honkbal Week.
Team USA will have a day off before continuing the double round-robin portion of the tournament on Monday with an afternoon matchup with Chinese Taipei. Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser will get the nod on the hill for Team USA.
Mathias, 1-for-6 during Honkbal Week, has hit safely in 14 of Team USA's 17 games this summer and has reached base in all 17 contests.
Mathias finished the Japan series 3-for-10 with six RBI and went 5-for-17 in the five-game series against Chinese Taipei, which Team USA won with a 3-0-2 record. Mathias is 21-for-57 (.368) in 17 games for Team USA this summer with seven doubles, one home run, nine RBI, 13 runs scored, six stolen bases and three sacrifice bunts. He is one of just two Team USA players to start all 17 games (Bregman is the other).
Prior to the series against Chinese Taipei, Mathias went 12-for-26 (.462) at the plate during Team USA's seven-game Red, White and Blue training camp series with four doubles, one RBI, nine runs scored and four stolen bases in four attempts. He had a trio of multi-hit games, including two three-hit contests, and had at least one hit in each of the seven games.
Mathias, the second Mustang and fourth in the last six seasons invited to compete for a spot on Team USA -- southpaw Matt Imhof pitched for the Collegiate National Team last summer -- played second base at Cal Poly this season, helping the Mustangs to their first Big West title and third NCAA regional berth.
Last month, Mathias (6-0, 185, Fremont, Calif./Irvington HS) earned third-team All-American honors as well as first-team All-West Region honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association. He also landed on the Baseball America second team and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's third team.
Named Big West Conference Field Player of the Year in late May, Mathias hit a Big West-leading .386 with 14 doubles, one triple and a pair of home runs. He knocked in 39 runs, led the Mustangs in hits with 81 as well as with 12 steals in 16 attempts and earned All-San Luis Obispo Regional honors by going 7-for-14 with three RBIs in four games.
Mathias, who had 17- and 14-game hitting streaks during the season, hit safely in 44 of his last 48 games and led the team with 24 multiple-hit contests. He went 77-for-185 (.416) during his last 48 games, struck out just 18 times in 250 plate appearances for the season and earned the team's Monty Waltz Big Stick Award.
A year ago, Imhof struck out 18 batters in 17 innings during his six mound stints with Team USA. Imhof allowed 10 hits and five walks, limiting opposing batters to a .175 average. He started one game and was a relief pitcher in five others.
Second baseman Matt Jensen was invited in both 2009 and 2010. An injury forced him to miss the tryouts in 2009 and he was released from the 2010 squad following the final day of training camp though he hit a grand slam in the final game of a six-game intrasquad series. Shortstop Ozzie Smith made the roster of the 1976 Team USA while pitcher Mike Zirelli (1997), infielder Jon Macalutas (1995) and catcher John Orton (1986) did not make the squad.
The 2014 Collegiate National Team is coached by Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn. The team's assistant coaches include Rob Childress (head coach at Texas A&M), Ray Birmingham (head coach at New Mexico) and Steve Rodriguez (head coach at Pepperdine).
Following its trip to the Netherlands for Honkbal-Haarlem Baseball Week, Team USA will head to Cuba for a five-game friendship series July 23-27.