Mainieri Prepares USA for Series vs. Japan

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Mainieri Prepares USA for Series vs. Japan

CARY, N.C. – In preparation for a pair of five-game friendship series against Japan and Cuba, the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team finalized its 26-man roster on Monday.

A total of four USA Baseball alumni are on this year’s roster, including three who will be making a repeat appearance with the Collegiate National Team as 2017 teammates Andrew Vaughn (California), Braden Shewmake (Texas A&M), and Kenyon Yovan (Oregon), have all earned the opportunity to wear the red, white, and blue once again.

For Vaughn, this will be his third go-around with Team USA, having also competed with 2018 teammate Daniel Cabrera (LSU) on the 2013 15U National Team which went undefeated en route to winning the gold medal at the COPABE Pan Am “AA” Championships in Barranquilla, Colombia.

In addition, three members of the Collegiate National Team have participated in the USA Baseball National Team Development Program (NTDP). The NTDP offers athletes an opportunity to connect with USA Baseball staff to better prepare for future national team experience. Vaughn was a part of the inaugural 14U NTDP in 2012 and Tanner Burns (Auburn) and Will Wilson (NC State) trained with the 17U NTDP in 2015.

“Trimming this roster down was one of the more difficult things I’ve ever had to do as a coach,” Team USA manager and LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “We are sending players home who were perfect here. They are all great. We only have so many slots on the roster so we had to make some tough decisions. Every player that we had to release to get down to 26 today is a great ball player at their respective school, performed well while they were here, and will end up being a great professional player. In a weird way, as tough as the decisions were, we are also in a great spot as a coaching staff because how can we go wrong? Any combination of these players is going to be a great club.”

The Collegiate National Team will open the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series at 6:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday, July 3, at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina. The second game of the series will be held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 5:05 p.m. CT on the Fourth of July.

Games three through five will feature stops at Minor League Baseball and Coastal Plain League parks in the Southeast, including Savannah, Georgia (July 6), Charleston, South Carolina (July 7), and Macon, Georgia (July 8).

Team USA will then travel to Havana, Cuba, for the 7th USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series to close out its summer, July 10-14, with all games scheduled to be played at historic Estadio Latinoamericano.

The U.S. will utilize a 24-man roster for the Japan series before increasing back to a full 26-man roster during its series against Cuba.

Continue to follow @USABaseballCNT on Twitter and visit USABaseball.com for the most up-to-date news about the Collegiate National Team.

2018 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Roster
Name, Position, Hometown, School, Class
Jake Agnos; LHP; Haymarket, Va.; ECU; Sophomore
Kyle Brnovich; RHP; Milton, Ga.; Elon; Sophomore
^Tanner Burns; RHP; Decatur, Ala.; Auburn; Freshman
*Daniel Cabrera; OF; Baton Rouge, La.; LSU; Freshman
Parker Caracci; RHP; Jackson, Miss.; Ole Miss; Sophomore
Matt Cronin; LHP; Navarre, Fla.; Arkansas; Sophomore
John Doxakis; LHP; Houston, Texas; Texas A&M; Sophomore
Mason Feole; LHP; Wakefield, R.I.; UCONN; Sophomore
Dominic Fletcher; OF; Cypress, Calif.; Arkansas; Sophomore
Zack Hess; RHP; Forest, Va.; LSU; Sophomore
Josh Jung; IF; San Antonio, Texas; Texas Tech; Sophomore
Shea Langeliers; C/IF; Keller, Texas; Baylor; Sophomore
Max Meyer; RHP; Woodbury, Minn.; Minnesota; Freshman
Bryan Packard; IF/OF; Greeneville, N.C.; ECU; Sophomore
Andre Pallante; RHP; San Clemente, Calif.; UC Irvine; Sophomore
Drew Parrish; LHP; Rockledge, Fla.; Florida State; Sophomore
Adley Rutschman; C/IF; Sherwood, Ore.; Oregon State; Sophomore
*Braden Shewmake; IF; Wylie, Texas; Texas A&M; Sophomore
Graeme Stinson; LHP; Norcross, Ga.; Duke; Sophomore
Bryson Stott; IF; Las Vegas, Nev.; UNLV; Sophomore
Zack Thompson; LHP; Selma, Ind.; Kentucky; Sophomore
Spencer Torkelson; IF; Petaluma, Calif.; Arizona State; Freshman
*^Andrew Vaughn; IF; Santa Rosa, Calif.; California; Sophomore
Zach Watson; OF; Ruston, La.; LSU; Sophomore
^Will Wilson; IF; Kings Mountain, N.C.; NC State; Sophomore
*Kenyon Yovan; RHP; Beaverton, Ore.; Oregon; Sophomore
*National Team Alumnus
^National Team Development Program Participant

QUOTES
USA Baseball CNT Manager Paul Mainieri
(On the strengths of this year’s roster)
“Obviously our pitching is phenomenal. All you have to do is look at the pitching staff’s numbers so far. We only gave up nine runs in six games and struck out 66 batters. We need to get better at our clutch hitting, especially with a runner on third and less than two outs, but this Chinese Taipei team pitched in a very unorthodox way and that was a big adjustment for these players. It was a challenge in a different kind of way, plus they are making the switch to wooden bats, the ballpark played big, and Chinese Taipei made a lot of great defensive plays. We need to get better there and take more advantage of our scoring opportunities but I thought we played terrific defense. One of the big questions coming in was our defense at shortstop and I think Bryson Stott has played terrific and Will Wilson is another great option. Our catching was also great, we have a speedy outfield, and having Andrew Vaughn and Josh Jung on the corners is about as good as it gets. We have a lot of confidence going into these next two series.”

(On the experience of wearing the USA jersey)
“Every day you get to pull this jersey over your head and look down at your chest to see the USA is an amazing feeling knowing that you are representing the greatest country on earth. I worked at a military institution at the Air Force Academy where I interacted with a lot of very brave people who are the custodians of our way of life, but I was never in the military. All I know is baseball, so this is my way to contribute to our country. We all want to represent our country in the best possible way and these next couple of days are going to be really special, especially playing on the Fourth of July in Durham. I had that experience as an assistant coach in 2015. We beat the Cuban National Team then had the fireworks and the patriotic music and the big crowd, I literally had tears streaming down my cheeks. I want these players to have that same experience, but we have to have success for them to really enjoy this experience to its maximum. We know Japan is going to be a formidable opponent and we are going to have to be at our very best.”