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USA blasts Taiwan, 11-1, at Bowie

THE BALTIMORE SUN

BOWIE -- After waiting out an hourlong rain delay, the fans quickly began the "USA" chant. Some furiously waved American flags, while others tucked them in the back of their caps.

But the patriotic flair soon subsided as Team USA's offensive barrage grabbed the crowd's attention and put the game away early.

Taking advantage of erratic pitching and poor fielding by Taiwan, Team USA stretched its longest winning streak of the season to seven games, downing the 1992 silver medalist, 11-1, before 3,270 at Prince George's County Stadium.

Team USA (22-6) plays Taiwan again today at noon at the same site.

"Their pitching is just like the teams we have played before, like Korea and Japan, with a lot of split-finger stuff and fastballs," Team USA right fielder Brian Shackelford said. "They didn't pitch around us and gave us some good balls to hit. Let's just say they let a few over the plate."

In two games against Taiwan, Team USA has racked up 22 runs and 30 hits, including 13 last night. Team USA scored runs in each of the first four innings on the strength of five extra-base hits, two throwing errors and two wild pitches.

"I think we are hitting the ball better the past two weeks than we had in the first five," Team USA manager Skip Bertman said. "We have been getting about nine or 10 hits a game, but seeing us tonight you would think we're a home run-hitting team. And we're not."

Team USA established its single-game high for home runs on the tour by hitting four, including two by Shackelford. The team has produced at least five runs and 10 hits in six of seven games.

It was the first multi-homer game by a U.S. player on the tour, and Shackelford and catcher Brian Loyd combined for the U.S. team's first back-to-back homers of the season.

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