VU's Gray takes the loss as USA drops series with Japan

Thursday, July 16, 2009 at 6:39pm
Staff reports

Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray was the losing pitcher Thursday as USA Baseball’s collegiate national team was defeated 8-7 in 11 innings by Japan in the deciding game of the 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Championship.

Gray was charged with a throwing error after his pick-off attempt allowed a runner to go from first to third with two outs. A second Team USA error (shortstop Christian Colon failed to field a ground ball) let the winning run to score and Japan to claim the series 3-2.

Gray (2-1, 0.53 ERA) allowed a leadoff walk but then struck out the next two batters before he committed the error.

He came on with two outs in the ninth and allowed an inherited runner to score the game-tying run before an inning-ending groundout sent the game into extra innings. He then pitched a scoreless 10th.

The Americans (13-4) went ahead 7-4 when they scored three times in the top of the ninth, but the Japanese answered with three in the bottom of the ninth.

It was Gray’s third appearance of the series. He pitched one scoreless inning in a 3-0 U.S. victory in the opener and was the winning pitcher in Game 3, when he allowed one hit and no runs in 5.1 innings of relief.

The USA Baseball collegiate national team is scheduled to compete next at the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia. That event begins Saturday and runs through July 26.