Looking to avenge their walk-off loss to Korea in the Olympic opener, the USA Baseball team turned to San Diego State sophomore Stephen Strasburg against the Netherlands last night, and boy did the kid deliver. Squaring off against Futures Gamer Shairon Martis, Strasburg fired 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 11 in the process. He took a perfect game into the 5th before issuing a walk, and kept the no-hitter in tact until allowing a Jeterian flare single to right with 2 outs in the 7th. The only thing that could stop him was the weather, as a rain delay forced him from the game. Strasburg is the early favorite to go first overall in the 2009 draft, and it’s easy to see why with performances like this one (and this one too). If you’re interested, you can read about his Olympic journey at his StrasBlog.
Matt Brown provided the team the only offense it would need, hitting a solo homer in the second. Matt LaPorta hit a monster 3-run homer in the 4th, a shot that cleared the left field fence by a good 30-35 feet. Dexter Fowler and Jason Donald tacked on some runs in garbage time, while Casey Weathers struck out two in a perfect 8th to close out the 7-0, rain shortened win. The Netherlands had two baserunners all night, and neither made it past first. The power arms were just too much.
Team USA is now 1-1 in the round robin style tournament, and will take on Cuba tonight at 11:30. For the third day in a row I’ll guess that either Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill takes to the mound, unless Davey Johnson elects to go with the more experienced Jake Arrieta against the Cubanos.
The video quality of the free online broadcast was ridiculously good, so I grabbed a couple screen caps of the stadium and Strasburg. Check ‘em out after the jump.