Playing in the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team’s summer finale, Cal Poly junior-to-be Mark Mathias singled twice during the 1-0 loss to Cuba in Capitan San Luis Stadium on Sunday.
With the game still scoreless in the top of the fourth inning, Mathias smacked a one-out single to center field, but was later stranded at second when the potential go-ahead run was thrown out at home from right field.
Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser faced just two over the minimum in his 5 2/3 innings of work (with eight strikeouts and two walks), and over the entirety of the game, the Americans outhit their counterparts 5-4. But Cuba plated the only run it would need in the sixth, on a two-out single from Yadiel Hernandez.
Mathias did his part to spark a rally in the ninth, again with one out, singling through the left side. He was left on, though, when the next two men up struck out swinging and grounded out to short.
The Americans, a week removed from winning the Honkbal title in the Netherlands, finished 18-8-2 overall.
“I’m really proud of this team and all that we accomplished this summer,” said team manager Dave Van Horn. “Starting with our tour of the Coastal Plain League when we were in something like 10 different hotels in 12 nights, these players have always had great attitudes, have never complained and really bonded as a squad.
“This summer has been an experience none of us will ever forget. When things slow down a little bit, I think all of us will reflect on this experience and realize all of the friendships we have gained and what a unique opportunity we’ve had. I have no doubt that each and every one of these players will be better baseball players and better people as a result of the experiences we’ve had this summer.”
Mathias was a Baseball America second-team All-American and the Big West Conference Field Player of the Year as a Mustang sophomore.
His batting average with Team USA finished at .263, with a team-high 19 walks, seven doubles, 10 RBI and 15 runs scored.
There were only two games this summer in which Mathias failed to reach base. He and LSU’s Alex Bregman were the squad’s only players to start all 28 games.