Ian Kennedy's seven innings of one-hit ball with nine strikeouts kept Team Taiwan's bats virtually silent the entire game as the American righty led his team to a 1-0 triumph in Game 1 of the 2005 USA-Taiwan Friendship Series in Tienmu on Friday.
The sophomore pitcher out of the University Southern California worked his repertoire of pitches, consisting mainly of a 150kph fastball and a nasty curve to perfection, in delivering the close win for Team USA.
Opposite Kennedy, Taiwanese starter Yang Yao-hsun was equally effective in holding the American lineup scoreless, even though he walked three and yielded two hits over four innings of work.
The only run of the game came in during the top of the sixth when cleanup man Matt Weiters for Team USA smashed a one-out double off Taiwanese reliever Tsai Ying-feng, followed by a hard single to left from J.P Arencibia (freshman catcher from the University of Tennessee) to put the runners at the corners.
John Jay (sophomore designated hitter from the University of Miami-Florida) then knocked home Wieters with a high chopper to short for an RBI ground out that gave Team USA the lead.
Following Kennedy's spectacular outing was right-handed reliever Mark Melancon (sophomore from the University of Arizona) who got the final six outs for Team USA in the last two frames to preserve the shutout victory.
Offensively for Team USA, Arencibia accounted for three of the eight hits that the Americans collected off three different Taiwanese pitchers, and leadoff man Shane Robinson (sophomore outfielder from the Florida State University) added a pair of base hits to lead an attack that was not exactly efficient as far as runs-to-hits.
As for the hosts, DH man Chu Yuan-chin and second baseman Chiou Chun-wun were the only two players that managed to register a hit (one of which was scored an infield single) from Kennedy and Melancon combined.
The two squads will meet again in Hisnchu yesterday for Game 2 of the five-game series before returning to Tienmu for three more contests starting with today's Game 3 and Games 4 and 5 scheduled for tomorrow and Tuesday.
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