The Americans are working overtime against Cuba, and succeeding.
Kyle Schwarber’s sacrifice fly scored Taylor Sparks in the top of the 10th inning and the United States beat the Cuban national team 3-2 Friday night.
The win was the second extra-inning win in consecutive nights for the Americans over Cuba in Game 2 of a five-game exhibition series.
Along with the RBI in the 10th, Schwarber went 2 for 3 with a run scored.
He said he was looking to get a pitch up in the zone and hit it far enough to get the go-ahead run home, but that wasn’t the pitch he got from Cuba reliever Diosdani Castillo.
Still, he was able to drive it about 360 feet to center field.
”He threw a fastball down, and I had to drop the head on it. I just missed it, but it got out there far enough,” Schwarber said.
Sparks began the 10th on second base under international rules for extra innings in which runners are placed at first and second to start each inning.
Team USA starter Luke Weaver of Florida State went six innings and gave up five hits and two unearned runs, striking out five and walking one in a no-decision.
USA and TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said he liked the way Weaver attacked the plate against a good-hitting Cuban squad.
”Luke was outstanding. I thought he was really, really good,” Schlossnagle said. ”He had a good fastball and a good changeup. He had a good breaking ball. He deserved a better fate for sure.”
David Berg of UCLA got the win in relief, while Noelvis Entenza took the loss for Cuba.
Schlossnagle said although he hasn’t had much experience playing with international rules, he is becoming a fast learner on the best strategy for overtime.
The series continues in Omaha for one more game before shifting to Cary and Durham, N.C., for the final two games Monday and Tuesday.
Team USA went ahead in the fourth inning after Indiana’s Schwarber scored from third on a fielder’s choice by Matt Chapman against right-hander Freddy Alvarez.
Chapman’s single in the bottom of the 11th won Game 1 of the series Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Cuba came right back in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out against Weaver. He got out of the inning with minimal damage after a sacrifice fly by Yunior Paumier scored Yasmani Tomas, and an RBI-single by Lorenzo Quntana plated Yulieski Gourriel to give Cuba a 2-1 advantage.
The Americans tied the game in the seventh. Austin Cousino hit a one-out, stand-up triple off the right-field wall. He scored when second baseman Jose Fernandez was unable to handle a sharp ground ball by Grayson Greiner and was charged with an error.
UC Irvine’s Sparks singled in the ninth and stole second before taking third on a fielder’s choice. But Trea Turner of North Carolina State fanned to end the inning.