Team USA edges HiToms, 3-2

Jun. 30, 2013 @ 10:02 PM

The HiToms again played well against the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. But again Team USA did enough to pull out a win.

Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run home run in the top of the fifth to lift Team USA past the HiToms 3-2 in six innings Sunday night at rainy Finch Field. Play continued into the seventh, incorporating the international rules tiebreaker, before play was stopped.

Still, the HiToms, for the second straight night, performed well against many of the country’s top players. They built a 2-0 lead through two innings, scoring Sutton Whiting on an error and Kyle Brandenburg on a solo home run, and Brody Koerner pitched well in five innings.

With runners on first and second in the first, the HiToms sent both runners, and the Team USA catcher’s throw to second flew into center field as the middle infielders had an apparent miscommunication. Whiting, moving to third on the steal, scored easily to give the HiToms a 1-0 lead.

Then, to lead off the second inning, Brandenburg, a former Ragsdale and Post 87 standout who now plays for High Point University, blasted a drive over the wall in right-center field to extend the lead to 2-0 against starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan.

Finnegan, however, settled after that, striking out six of the final nine batters he faced. For the game, he allowed one hit while striking out seven but did allow four walks. Preston Morrison got the win in relief. Koerner took the loss, despite limiting Team USA to five hits while striking out four.

Schwarber was the lone multi-hit batter of the game for either team. In the fifth, after Brad Zimmer led off the inning with an infield single, he stole second and Matt Chapman followed with a walk. Schwarber then hit a deep fly ball over the wall in right-center to give Team USA a 3-2 lead.

In the seventh, outside of the official game, the HiToms’ Dykota Spiess roped a bases-clearing double down the right-field line that ended up being the final play of the game.

The HiToms, who went 13-15 in the first half, return to Coastal Plain League play tonight at home against Martinsville.