Team USA experience a ‘grind’ for NC State’s Turner

wrupard@newsobserver.comJuly 24, 2013 

— Traveling around the world seemed to have taken its toll on the Team USA Collegiate National Team, but N.C. State’s Trea Turner is glad it’s an experience he can have for the rest of his life.

The USA Collegiate National Team played 23 games in about a month, traveling across the country and around the world. It played in Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Nebraska and traveled overseas to play five games in Japan in three different cities.

Its season concluded Tuesday night in Durham against the Cuban National Team.

Team USA featured three players from area colleges – N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon and Turner as well as North Carolina’s Skye Bolt.

Turner said the demand was the toughest part of his experience on the team, but said it was a rewarding experience.

“It’s definitely been a grind,” Turner said. “With all the things we did it was special, definitely a very fun summer going to Japan and obviously playing Cuba. It’s been a blast and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Turner started 20 games for Team USA, playing both middle infield positions. Turner struggled some at the plate, hitting .211 in those 20 games while driving in five runs, but the rising junior said he thinks he ran into some bad luck.

“I felt like for the most past, the last week I had a lot of good at bats,” Turner said. “I lined out to the shortstop and hit a hard groundball back to the pitcher. In probably the last six games or so, I felt like I haven’t been able to catch a break. I know the stats don’t say I played very well, but I felt like I had some good at-bats and I think I did a lot of good for us this summer.”

In Tuesday’s game, Turner was 1-for-4, scoring two runs and stealing a crucial base in the fifth inning, which led to a run. In the two-game swing into the Triangle, Turner went 1-for-7, scoring three runs.

The Triangle’s other position player, Bolt, struggled during the summer as well, hitting only .120 while driving in 5 runs. The rising sophomore at North Carolina only started seven games this summer, including Monday night’s game in Cary. Bolt did not start in Tuesday’s game, but came in to pinch hit in the eight and struck out.

“We definitely wanted to try and get those guys in the game,” Team USA’s head coach, Jim Schlossnagle said. “I went to college in North Carolina at Elon, so I know how people feel about their Wolfpack and Tar Heels.”

Team USA wrapped up its summer season with a 20-3 record, including five straight wins against the Cuban National Team and seven straight overall.

2/3 scoreless innings of scoreless ball to lead Team USA. The left-hander struck out 11 Cuban hitters before leaving in the seventh inning to a standing ovation.

Rupard: 919-829-8954

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