July 24, 1997
Cal Coach and Players Boost USA Squad
WICHITA, Kan. - The 1997 USA Baseball National Team, led by California head coach Bob Milano, is currently 16-7 this summer, most recently defeating Australia, 11-6, Wednesday at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, KS. The United States and Australia will continue their four-game series Thursday night at USA Stadium in Millington, TN
Two current Cal baseball players, sophomore shortstop Brian Oliver and sophomore catcher Jason Hill, are both on the USA National Team's 22-man travel roster and are playing well for USA Baseball this summer.
Hill had a phenomenal game in Wednesday's victory over Australia, hitting two home runs in an eight-run fifth inning and leading the Americans to the 11-6 come-from-behind win. With Team USA trailing 5-2 in the fifth, the Cal catcher led off the inning with an opposite field homer to cut the Australian lead to two runs. Later in the inning, Hill delivered his second home run, a three-run blast to right-centerfield to give the United States a 10-5 lead.
Hill had the USA's first hit of the ballgame, a sharp single to left field in the third inning, and scored the Americans' first run. He finished the contest 4-for-4 with five RBI and three runs scored. Hill has now started 11 games for Team USA behind the plate and is batting .359 (14-for-39) with two doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI.
Oliver, a first team All-Pac-10 selection this spring, was 1-for-5 with a double in Wednesday's game and is currently second on the USA National Team with a .397 batting average (25-for-63). He has started 16 of the team's 23 contests at second base, and has five doubles, a home run and eight RBI. Earlier this summer during the 26th annual USA-Japan Collegiate Championship series (June 21-28), Oliver was named Hitter of the Tournament, batting .500 (10-for-20).
The 1997 USA Baseball National Team competition schedule will culminate at the International Baseball Association's XIII International Cup scheduled for August 1-10 in Barcelona, Spain. The tournament will feature the top four finishers from the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games: Cuba (gold medal), Japan (silver), United States (bronze) and Nicaragua (fourth place). Australia, France, Italy and Spain will round out the eight-team field.