Dec. 19, 1997
Intercontinental Cup Results
The 1997 USA Baseball National Team, led by California head coach Bob Milano, finished fourth at the International Baseball Association's XIII Intercontinental Cup, losing the bronze medal match to Australia, 7-6 in 10 innings, last Sunday in Barcelona, Spain. The Americans concluded the Intercontinental Cup with a 4-5 mark and an overall season record of 21-13 this summer.
At the Intercontinental Cup, the 22-man USA squad lost to Japan, 9-6, Aug. 1; defeated Italy, 11-0, Aug. 2; defeated Nicaragua, 10-1, Aug. 3, lost to Cuba, 4-1, Aug. 4, defeated host Spain, 12-1 Aug. 6; defeated France, 12-2 Aug. 7; lost to Australia, 6-4 in 10 innings Aug. 8; lost to Cuba, 7-1, Aug. 9 and finally lost to Australia, 7-6 in 10 innings Aug. 10 for the fourth-place finish.
Two current Cal baseball players, sophomore shortstop Brian Oliver and sophomore catcher Jason Hill, were both on the USA National Team's 22-man travel roster and played well for USA Baseball this summer. Oliver and Hill, who will be entering their junior seasons at Cal next spring, both started in the final contest versus Australia, with Oliver going 1-for-4 and Hill going 0-for-3 with a run scored.
Oliver, a first team All-Pac-10 selection this past spring, had a .333 batting average (32-for-96) on the USA National Team this summer. He started 25 of the team's 34 contests at second base, and had six 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 as well. 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 started 17 games for Team USA behind the plate and batted .281 (16-for-57) with three doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI.
The Intercontinental Cup featured 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 rounded out the eight-team field.