DURHAM, N.C. – In the first-ever USA Baseball Prospect Classic, which pitted the Collegiate National Team against the 18U National Trials team, CNT came out ahead taking game one of the two-game series 12-1 Friday night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Complex.
Brian Johnson stole the show in his first game with CNT going 2-for-2 with three RBI and three walks at the plate. The 2010 CNT alum also tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief recording a pair of strikeouts.
Facing some of the top college players in the country, the 18U squad collected nine hits on the night and were led by catcher Jeremy Martinez, who was 2-for-2. In all, eight players posted at least one base knock with Martinez and Carson Kelly each legging out doubles.
Johnson gave CNT an early 2-0 lead in the second sending a 2-2 Max Fried offering back up the middle scoring Erich Weiss and Dominic Ficociello. Weiss reached after being hit by a pitch to start the stanza and Ficociello doubled down the left field line setting up Johnson’s first hit of the summer.
CNT exploded for five runs in the bottom of the third extending its lead to 7-0, which was highlighted by a Josh Elander triple and Johnson’s round tripper. Tyler Naquin walked to start the frame and took third on Deven Marrero’s single before Elander cleared the bases with his second triple of the summer. After an 18U pitching change, Weiss lifted a fly ball to center pushing across Elander and Johnson capped the inning with a towering shot to right field.
Marrero and Elder’s back-to-back hits extended CNT’s lead to 9-0 in the fourth. Naquin walked for the second time and scored on Marrero’s double to right center. Elder followed with a line drive to right platting Marrerro.
CNT added to its lead scoring twice in the fifth and once more in the sixth for a 12-0 advantage.
Corey Seager’s sac fly got the 18U squad on the board in the ninth inning. Kelly roped a leadoff double to right field off the NCBWA Stopper-of-the-Year, Corey Knebel, and took third on Joey Gallo’s ground out to short before trotting home on Seager’s fly ball to center.
Ryan Stanek (1-0) scattered eight hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to notch his first win of the summer. The right-hander fanned six batters and allowed just one walk before turning the ball over to Johnson. Knebel worked the final frame allowing one run on one hit.
On a staff night that saw nine 18U hurlers toe the rubber, Fried (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs (both earned) on three hits. Eight of the nine pitchers got in an innings worth work with starter Lucas Sims, Carson Fulmer and Walker Weickel each tossing scoreless frames.
Game two of the series will be played Saturday night at the National Training Complex with a first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Trials Notes: Brian Johnson and Nolan Fontana, both from the University of Florida, joined the Collegiate National Team Friday before game one of the Prospect Classic … The sophomore duo led the Gators to the College World Series finals against South Carolina, which was played at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha … Game two of the Prospect Classic will be played at the USA National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. … Live scoring and video streaming will be available on USABaseball.com … Fans can tonight’s game and Saturday’s on a one-day tape-delayed broadcast (July 2-3) on MLB Network starting at noon ET both days.
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