The Kansas baseball team (USA team) erased an early deficit, scoring 12 unanswered runs in a 12-2 mercy-rule victory over Russia Monday at Chiayi City Baseball Field.
Russia (1-2) tagged Kansas starter Eli Davis for two runs in the first frame, but couldn't muster anything else against a loaded USA (2-1) bullpen.
"We needed to win today to make sure we advanced into the medal rounds," head coach Ritch Price said in a team release. "For us, it was a huge day. Davis hasn't thrown since high school and it was important to get him out on the mound. We set it up for our bullpen to have everyone throw two innings after that."
Davis, who missed last season rehabbing his Tommy John surgery, tossed three innings to start things off for the Jayhawks before turning to the bullpen. Blake Goldsberry, Daniel Hegarty and Ryan Cyr closed out the final six frames without allowing a run.
"We have used all of our pitchers up until this point and have our pitch counts where they need to be," Price said. "We have started every one of our position guys, and now we get a chance to play for a medal, which is the position we needed to put ourselves in."
The lineup provided plenty of support for the bullpen, as Brooks Asher started the rally with a two-run double in the second. Asher finished the game with three RBIs, helping Kansas score 12 unanswered runs to erase an early 2-0 deficit in the final game of pool play.
"Our goal heading into this thing was to play for a medal," Asher said. "We have done everything we have needed to do up until now to put us in that position."
The Jayhawks collected 13 hits against Russia, which was their most in a single game this tournament. It also marked the second time in three games that Kansas has run-ruled an opponent.
Due to the threat of severe weather, the medal round game against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday was moved to 12 a.m. Tuesday. Fans can watch the game live at YouTube.com/SSUTV. Following that game, USA will have two days off before it will play Korea at 3 a.m. Friday.