The United State of America opened Premier 12 play with an 11-5 victory over the Dominican Republic at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
In the first inning, Dan Black (KT Wiz, KBO) opened things up with an RBI single. Kyle Martin (Philadelphia Phillies) doubled to drive in Black and give the USA a 2-0 lead. Just a few minutes later, Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates) kept the inning alive with an RBI of his own to make it a 3-0 lead for the States.
Wilson Betemit, who last played in Major League Baseball for the Baltimore Orioles in 2013, launched a leadoff home run to spark a three-run second inning for the Dominican Republic. After Betemit, the Dominican Republic compiled three straight hits to tie the ballgame.
Frazier was at it again in the third, as he lined an RBI triple to right, which gave the USA a 4-3 lead. The triple sparked the biggest source of offense for the United States, as the team plated six runs in the third.
"Both teams came out swinging and it was an entertaining game for everyone", said United States manager Willie Randolph following the win. "I like the fact that we kept attacking and adding on throughout the game. We need to put runs on the board due to the format of this tournament."
Zeke Spruill (Boston Red Sox) got the start and came to the mound for the fifth inning, but could not finish. He went 4.2 innings after giving up his fourth run of the game on a home run to Teoscar Hernandez. The home run over the left field wall chased Spruill from the game.
Cody Satterwhite (New York Mets), Joey Denato (Phillies) and J.B. Wendelken (Chicago White Sox) finished the game for the USA.
Another run was tacked on by the Dominican Republic, but Brett Eibner (Kansas City Royals) drove in one run on an RBI single and Black added a sacrifice fly to give the USA an 11-5 lead in the fifth inning. It was a lead that stuck to the finish.
"The guys responded well tonight, they came out of the chutes quick", added Randolph. "I was a little concerned that we could get jumped on early coming off of two off-days, but our guys were ready to go."
On Wednesday at 11:00 PM ET, the United States will face Venezuela at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. Anthony Vasquez (Philadelphia Phillies) will toe the slab for the USA, opposed by Felipe Paulino.
Between Reading Double-A and Lehigh Valley Triple-A - affiliates of the Philadelphia Phillies - during the 2015 season, Vasquez went 9-8 with a 4.10 ERA over 28 games, one of his 22 starts was a complete game.
Paulino, who will start for Venezuela, use to pitch for the Kansas City Royals before undergoing Tommy John surgery. In the 30-year-old's seven starts before the surgery, he went 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA. In September, 2008, Paulino was considered to have the best organizational arm for the Houston Astros, who signed him in 2001.