US Baseball: Strasburg Dominant in First Olympic Win

Nino CollaSenior Writer IAugust 14, 2008

The opening game for United States Baseball against South Korea wasn't the ideal return to the Olympics everyone was looking for.

However, the US managed to show they are still a dominant force in baseball after defeating the Netherlands the next day with a 7-0 shutout.

Lead by the lone college player on the roster, Stephen Strasburg, the United States held the Dutch down early.

Strasburg hurled a no hitter into the seventh inning, and had retired the first 13 batters he faced.

Strasburg had his strikeout stuff working early and often, tallying 11 punch-outs, including five of the first six hitters.

One of his multiple-strikeout victims was Washington Nationals' farmhand Yurendell de Caster.

The favorite to go number one overall in next year's MLB Draft could have gone longer in the game, but an hour and a half rain delay ended any chance of that.

Casey Weathers relieved Strausburg for a perfect 8th inning.

Offensively, the leadoff home run in the second by Matthew Brown would have been plenty, but, as displayed in the first game against South Korea, the US team can score some runs.

A leadoff double by Dodger Terry Tiffe got the fourth inning started for the US against Netherlands pitcher Shairon Martis.

After a Brown walk and Nate Schierholtz strike out, Matt LaPorta stepped into the box.

LaPorta battled in the at bat, taking several close pitches for balls and fighting the others off foul.

To his credit, Martis battled the Cleveland Indians farmhand tough, not giving in to LaPorta.

It turns out, he should have, as LaPorta took a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the United States a 4-0 lead.

Two more doubles by John Gall and Jason Donald would make it a four run inning for Team USA.

The United States would add on in the seventh after Dutch pitcher Pim Walsma threw three wild pitches to get Tiffe all the way from first to home plate.

After the delay, the United States would add another run on the board via a Dexter Fowler bases loaded ground out.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Netherlands loaded the bases up with no outs, only to have the rains fall once again.

After waiting it out for yet another 90 minutes, the game was called a 7-0 victory after eight innings of play for the United States.

After coming back in the ninth against South Korea, only to lose in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly, the US needed to come out strong against a weak opponent.

The road doesn't get any easier from here on out as the defending gold medal winners Cuba await the United States.

Cuba is lead by sensational infielder Yuliesky Gurriel who has just two hits in the first two games. However, the Cubans have already sent Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish to an early shower in game one and out-slugged the Canadians in game two.

Darvish walked four and gave up seven hits in his four innings of work against Cuba.

If that is any indication on how patient and dangerous the offense of Cuba is, the United States could be in trouble.

You can see Cuba take on the United States Thursday night at 11:30 p.m. EST.

If the way manager Davey Johsnon has lined up his pitchers throughout the exhibition series and the first two games is any indication, there is no telling who will be on the mound for the United States.

Odds are on either Brandon Knight or Trevor Cahill going for Team USA.