Mahtook, Team USA to Play for Gold

LSU's Mikie Mahtook
LSU's Mikie Mahtook
Steve Franz
Bill Franques
Bill Franques
Communications Sr. Associate

TOKYO -- The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team will close out its 2010 summer season Saturday when it meets Cuba in the gold medal game of the V FISU World University Baseball Championships at Meiji Jingu Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time in Japan and 4 a.m. CDT in the U.S.

USA, which owns a 16-2 record over its entire summer schedule, is currently riding a seven-game winning streak and is coming off a 4-2 win over host nation Japan in tournament semifinal action Thursday night. USA has been led during the tournament by LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook, who is batting .467 in five games.

USA has outscored its opponents 46-10 in the tournament. Including Mahtook, the Americans have three hitters with a .400 average or better with Ryan Wright (Louisville) hitting .450 with a home run and six RBI and Jason Esposito (Vanderbilt) hitting at a .400 clip with a home run and five RBI.

Mahtook, a junior from Lafayette, La.,  hit. 335 for the Tigers in 2010 with 19 doubles, four triples, 14 homers, 50 RBI, 68 runs and 22 steals. He was among the SEC leaders in several offensive categories, including doubles (No. 2), runs scored (No. 3), triples (No. 6), slugging percentage (No. 6), stolen bases (No. 7) and total bases (No. 8).

Cuba enters Saturday's contest on the heels of an 11-0 win over Korea in semifinal action. The Cubans have scored double-digits in all five games and have outscored their opponents by a 70-8 margin. Jose' Abreu and Yoennis Cespedes lead the powerful offense with have four home runs each and have recorded double-digit hits and RBI while batting over .600.

Ismel Jimenez looks to get the start on the mound for Cuba, while USA will counter with All-America right-hander Gerrit Cole (UCLA). Cole got the start against Chinese Taipei on August 1, tossing six innings in the no-decision where he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with eight strikeouts.





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