In the battle between North American teams Canada is 0-2 at the World Baseball Challenge.
Canada and NWAACC USA met for the second time in less than a week, but with the same result as the USA earned a 9-3 win Monday in front of 453 fans at Citizen Field. In the WBC opener Canada fell 13-6 last week. Canada is winless at 0-5 heading to their final round-robin game today against Japan JXEneos, while the win lifts the USA to 2-4.
The Canadians will have another chance to beat their southern rivals when the two teams face each other a third time in the fourth-fifth place game Wednesday to determine who goes on to the bronze-medal game.
Canada manager Darren Doucette said the short notice on picking a team - Canada was unable to secure players until July when they knew the WBC would definitely happen - contributed to the team's slow start.
"I think we've gotten better as the tournament's gone on, we're just short a couple of horses here," said Doucette. "We played some better teams, let's be honest, but our guys battled. We've got a great group of guys here and they can hold their heads up high. We've got a placement game coming up and you never know what happens."
Canada had an error-free game in Monday's loss and they managed six hits but stranded seven runners. The USA scored a deuce in four innings, while Canada produced only singles.
Doucette said assuming they'll face off with the USA again they'll just have to keep battling and if things go their way they may avoid the three-game sweep.
"We've been getting better all tournament and we've just got to keep going and make sure we end on a positive note," said Doucette.
The USA was on the board first with a pair of runs by their leadoff batters, Ty Holm and Mychal Harrington, giving them a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Canadian pitcher David Hatt issued walks to Holm and Harrington. Brandon Hunter pulled Canada to within a run at 2-1 in the second inning, earning his stroll on a single before Charlie Strandlund smashed a double to bring him home.
The USA went ahead 5-2 after the fifth inning with five different batters scoring runs, including a two-run homerun by designated hitter Bobby LeCount. In the top of the sixth inning, Jackson Gooch hit a solo homerun to make it 5-2, but the USA responded with four hits and a pair of runs in their half of the inning.
"I was just looking for one pitch and he decided to give it to me," said Gooch. "I saw the ball well all day and I just put it in the right spot."
The 21-year-old Vancouver native went 2-for-4 at the plate, with the homer and a single. Gooch will play his final game for Canada today against Japan, as he heads back to school at McNeese State in Louisiana.
Hatt's night was done after six innings, seven runs on nine hits and two walks, one hit batter and four strikeouts. Sean Callegari finished the game for Canada, giving up two hits and two runs in two innings of work.
Mac Acker earned the win with 7.1 innings of work, giving up five hits, two runs and notching four strikeouts. Six of the USA nine batters contributed runs with Ryan Degner tallying three after a walk, a hit by pitch and a perfectly placed bunt. Jacob Herklotz started the game with two strikeouts but finished strong with a pair of singles to drive in three runs.
Today's games feature Canada and Japan at 3 p.m. followed by a first-place showdown between the Cuba Ciego de Avila Tigres and the Chinese Taipei National Team at 7 p.m.