OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Texas Christian sophomore Brandon Finnegan limited Cuba to three hits in seven innings in Team USA’s 1-0 victory Saturday night, the Americans’ third straight one-run win in the first three games of the five-game exhibition series.
Finnegan struck out seven and walked one.
“Once we scored, the way I was pitching, if I just let the defense do their work, I knew we were going to win,” said Finnegan, 0-8 for Texas Christian last season despite a 3.18 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 79 1-3.
The Americans opened the series Thursday night with a 2-1 victory in 11 innings in Des Moines, Iowa, and won 3-2 in 10 innings Friday night in Omaha. Game 4 is Monday night in Cary, N.C., and the finale is Tuesday night in Durham, N.C.
Cuban starter Norge Ruiz allowed three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out 11 and walked two.
The U.S. scored in the fourth inning. North Carolina State’s Trea Turner and LSU’s Alex Bregman led off with singles, and Indiana’s Kyle Schwarber’s fielder’s choice moved Turner to third with one out. Oregon State’s Michael Conforto hit an 0-2 pitch deep enough to left field for a sacrifice fly to score Turner.
Turner was 2 for 4.
“I’d say we’re getting a little bit frustrated because we’re chasing pitches we know we shouldn’t chase, but we know they have really good stuff,” Turner said.
UCLA’s David Berg and Miami of Florida’s Chris Diaz combined to strike out the side in the eighth, and
Arizona State’s Ryan Burr retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to get the save.
Team USA coach Jim Schlossnagle, who also coaches Finnegan at TCU, said Burr called the dugout from the bullpen himself to let him know that he wanted the ball to end the game.
“He was like, ‘Hey, just to let you know, I’m ready to go, and I feel great. Oh by the way, this is Burr.’ That’s what he said,” Schlossnagle said.
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