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Three Yellow Jackets Lead USA Baseball to Gold Medal Game at the Pan Am Games

Aug. 11, 2003

San Domingo, DR – The USA Baseball National Team (5-1) will play Cuba (4-1) for the gold medal at the 2003 Pan Am Games on Tuesday, August 12 at 7:30 pm EST at Stadium Quisqueya in Santo Domingo. Three Georgia Tech players – catcher Mike Nickeas, second baseman Eric Patterson and pitcher/DH Micah Owings – are among the 19 man United States team. A fourth Yellow Jacket, shortstop/third baseman Tyler Greene was leading the team in batting (.431) before suffering a sprained ankle last week and will not play in the gold medal game.

Team USA has an overall record of 27-1 on the summer and 5-1 at the Pan Am Games. The Americans will send righthander Jered Weaver (5-0, 0.00 ERA, So., Long Beach State) to the mound.

Team USA advanced to the final with an incredible 3-2, 14-inning victory over Mexico (3-2) on Sunday night, while Cuba defeated Nicaragua, 2-1 to reach the gold medal game. The Cubans will be looking for their ninth consecutive gold medal at the Pan Ams, while Team USA will be trying to capture their second overall, and first since 1967.

Team USA and Cuba will be meeting in the Pan Am Gold Medal game for the third time, with Cuba taking both of the previous meetings. The most recent came in 1999, when Cuba was victorious by a 5-1 score in Winnipeg, Canada. Cuba also defeated the USA in the 1987 Pan Am Games final by a 13-9 count. In addition, the two rivals have finished 1-2 five other times when medals were awarded based only on teams’ overall pool play records.

Greene finishes the summer with a team-leading .431 batting average, and becomes only the second player since 2000 – when Team USA began using wood bats – to finish the summer above .400. Greene’s .431 mark enters the Team USA record books as the fourth highest single-season batting average in USA National Team History.

Patterson, the team’s starting second baseman and leadoff hitter, leads Team USA with 28 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. Nickeas, who has started 18 of 28 games behind the plate, ranks fourth on the club with a .317 batting average. Owings, a two-way player, has contributed with a 2-0 record in six pitching appearances this summer.

Pan American Games History - United States & Cuba in Gold Medal Game1999 - Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada - Cuba 5, USA 11987 - Indianapolis, Ind. - Cuba 13, USA 9

Pan American Games History – United States & Cuba finish 1-2 1975 – Mexico City, Mexico – Gold: Cuba, Silver: USA 1971 – Cali, Columbia – Gold: Cuba, Silver: USA 1967 – Winnipeg, Canada – Gold: USA, Silver: Cuba 1963 – San Paulo, Brazil – Gold: Cuba, Silver: USA 1951 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Gold: Cuba, Silver: USA

This will be the fifth straight year that Team USA and Cuba have met in the gold medal game of a major international event. The Cubans defeated the Americans by a 6-0 score in the 2002 FISU World University Baseball Championships, and by a 5-3 score at the 2001 IBAF World Cup. But Team USA captured the 2000 Olympic gold medal with a historic 4-0 shutout in Sydney, Australia. Cuba won the 1999 Pan Am Games with a 5-1 win over the USA.

Cuba leads the series of all games played since 1987, 55-27.

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