Aug. 5, 1997
Cal Contingent Plays Strong at the International Cup
The 1997 USA Baseball National Team, led by California head coach Bob Milano, is currently 19-10 this summer and 2-2 in the International Baseball Association's XIII International Cup (August 1-10 in Barcelona, Spain). The tournament features 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 rounds out the eight-team field.
So far in the International Cup, the 22-man USA squad has lost to Japan, 9-6, Aug. 1; defeated Italy, 11-0, Aug. 2; defeated Nicaragua, 10-1, Aug. 3 and lost to Cuba, 4-1, Aug. 4. Team USA will face Australia, Aug. 5 at 4:30 p.m.; Spain, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. and France, Aug. 7 at 11 a.m. The Americans will have a day off Aug. 8 before entering the medal rounds Aug. 9-10.
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 have played well for USA Baseball this summer. Oliver and Hill have struggled slightly in the International Cup, however, as Oliver is 0-for-6 with two RBI and Hill is 0-for-7 with an RBI.
Oliver, a first team All-Pac-10 selection this spring, has a .355 batting average (27-for-76) on the USA National Team. He has started 20 of the team's 29 contests at second base, and has five doubles, a home run and 10 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).
Hill has had some big games for the Americans this summer. On July 24, he delivered a run-scoring groundout in the top of the 10th inning to lead the United States to the 6-5 extra-inning win over Australia. It was the second day in a row Hill had heroics, as he had a phenomenal game in a July 23 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 Team USA's first hit of the July 23 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 started 14 games for Team USA behind the plate and is batting .294 (15-for-51) with three doubles, two home runs and 18 RBI.