USA falls to Korea in bronze medal game

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CHIAYI CITY, Taiwain -- Two big Korea innings plagued the Kansas baseball team (USA Team) Sunday afternoon (Taiwan time) at Chiayi City Baseball Field in a 7-4 loss that determined the bronze medal winner at the 2018 World University Baseball Championship.

Korea (3-3) tagged USA starter redshirt-freshman-to-be Eli Davis for a three-spot in the second inning after he allowed three hits and three walks in the frame. Korea answered with another crooked number (4) in the sixth off reliever sophomore-to-be Jonah Ulane to round out its scoring on the day.

"We had a couple tough innings on the mound where we gave up crooked numbers," head coach Ritch Price said. "We lost our command a little bit in those innings and Korea capitalized off it."

Korea combined for seven runs off six hits in those two frames, but mustered just three hits the other seven innings while striking out eight times on the day.

USA relievers, senior-to-be Blake Goldsberry, and juniors-to-be Ryan Cyr and Nathan Barry strung together six and 1/3 innings of shutout baseball out of the bullpen. The trio allowed just one hit while striking out five batters.

"It was good to see guys come out of the bullpen and get outs when we needed them," Price said. "That effort alone set the table for a possible comeback in the late innings."

USA did its best to mount that comeback with a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore-to-be first baseman Tom Lichty started the rally with a home run that landed in the right field bleachers. The Stars and Stripes pounded out three more hits in the frame and with a little help from an error, pulled within three runs of Korea, 7-4.

"We had 10 hits today, we swung the bats really well," Price said. "We hit several line drives that were caught, and overall, I was pleased with our performance today."

Eight of the nine USA hitters in the lineup contributed at least one hit on the day with sophomore-to-be right fielder Blaine Ray leading the way with a pair of singles. Junior-to-be second baseman James Cosentino added a two-run triple to tip USA's extra-base hit total to two.

KEY INNINGS
Top of 2nd
Korea breaks open the scoring after connecting for three hits and taking three free passes - KOR 3, USA 0.

Top of 6th
Korea adds four more runs off four hits and a walk to take a seven-run lead - KOR 7, USA 0.

Bottom of 7th
Tom Lichty sparks a four-run rally with a one-out home run to right field - KOR 7, USA 4.

UP NEXT
USA will begin the 24-hour trek back to Lawrence on Sunday, July 15 at 8:50 p.m. (CT). The squad should be back in town Monday, July 16, at 8:30 p.m. (CT).