DES MOINES, Iowa — Matt Chapman's teammates streamed out of the dugout to celebrate his hit as though the Cal State-Fullerton star had won the College World Series.
Simply an exhibition?
Not when it's against Cuba.
Chapman had an RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning to give Team USA a 2-1 victory over Cuba on Thursday night in an international exhibition.
The matchup was the opener of a five-game series between Cuba and a team of American college stars — and the first between the countries on American soil since 1996.
Cuba's Jose Fernandez tied the game at 1-1 with an RBI single with two outs in the ninth. But Chapman responded by ripping a line drive to right field with two outs in the 11th.
"It's fun to play teams and meet new people. But at the end of the day, we really want to win," Chapman said.
The mood was hardly so pleasant in the Cuban locker room.
Cuba lost pitcher Misael Siverio to defection on Tuesday, and his defection drew much of the attention away from Cuba's visit to the U.S.
Cuban manager Victor Mesa acknowledged Siverio's defection by criticizing him after the game, saying he's no better than a Triple-A talent at best.
"You may see the gentleman that defected working as a laborer. He came with us because he's a left-handed thrower, but he's not that great of a pitcher," Mesa said through an interpreter."
The U.S. and Cuba faced each other often in international friendlies from the late 70s until the mid-90s.
The matchup between Cuba's national team and American college players didn't resume until last year in Havana, with the Cubans taking three of the five games.
Cuba will play the U.S. in Omaha, Neb., on Friday and Saturday before games in Cary and Durham, N.C., next week.
"It's just great for baseball across the world," Team USA coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "It's exciting. It's fun to play good teams."
Cuba's offense struggled until the ninth inning.
But its defensive prowess was on display from the moment it took the field.
Trea Turner led off for the U.S. by hitting a line drive that bounced off pitcher Vladimir Garcia's glove. But Cuban shortstop Barbaro Arruebarruena barehanded the ball, and his throw to first beat Turner by a step.
Cuban catcher Lazaro Herrera committed two throwing errors. But Fernandez, a second baseman, and third baseman Yulieski Gourriel handled difficult plays with ease.
Center fielder Dairon Varona also showed off his powerful arm more than once.
N.C. State starter Carlos Rodon, who could be a first-round pick in next year's MLB draft, allowed just one hit while striking out four in 3 1/3 innings, and TCU's Preston Morrison struck out four in 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Chapman also scored the first run for the U.S. on a sacrifice fly from Turner.
The game went to an international tiebreaker for extra innings. Each team started their innings with runners on first and second base.
The U.S. held Cuba scoreless in the 10th as catcher Grayson Greiner threw out Ariel Sanchez at second following a wild pitch.
The makeup of the Cuban roster was largely unknown to the U.S. The majority of Cuba's team didn't play in the recent World Baseball Classic.
Still, Team USA picked up just enough to execute a defensive shift in the seventh inning on right-handed cleanup hitter Yasmani Tomas.
He pulled a grounder just left of second base, and second baseman Alex Bregman was in perfect position for the putout.
"It's a very well-equipped team. Spectacular talent," Mesa said of the U.S.
The game drew nearly 5,000 fans, an impressive crowd for a Thursday night with temperatures in the 90s at first pitch.
Iowa Cubs officials were also told by USA Baseball to prepare for as many as 100 scouts.
"It's cool because we might be the underdogs because we're younger," Chapman said. "I think it's going to be pretty exciting the rest of the series."
|Houston||12/5/13 7:25 PM|
|Minnesota||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Kansas City||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Buffalo||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Miami||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Detroit||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Indianapolis||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Oakland||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||12/8/13 12:00 PM|
|Tennessee||12/8/13 3:05 PM|
|St. Louis||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Seattle||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|NY Giants||12/8/13 3:25 PM|
|Carolina||12/8/13 7:30 PM|
|Dallas||12/9/13 7:40 PM|
|LA Clippers||6:30 PM|
|San Antonio||8:30 PM|
|Oklahoma City||9:00 PM|
|West Va Tech||6:00 PM|
|Valparaiso||2||1st Half 19:10|
|Western Carolina||2||1st Half 18:42|
|South Florida||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Sacred Heart||6:00 PM|
|No Greenville||6:00 PM|
|William & Mary|
|New Hampshire||0||1st Half 18:45|
|Central Conn St||0|
|Wisconsin||2||1st Half 18:11|
|Maryland||2||1st Half 18:48|
|UMBC||3||1st Half 18:00|
|Army||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Binghamton||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Mount St Marys||0|
|Delaware State||6:00 PM|
|Cleveland State||6:00 PM|
|Central Penn College||6:00 PM|
|Young Harris||6:00 PM|
|Robert Morris||6:45 PM|
|North Florida||7:00 PM|
|Saint Josephs||7:00 PM|
|Morehead State||7:00 PM|
|St Edwards||7:00 PM|
|East Tenn St||7:00 PM|
|Eastern Ill||7:00 PM|
|Dakota State||7:00 PM|
|South Dakota St|
|Chicago State||7:05 PM|
|Texas Southern||7:05 PM|
|New Mexico||8:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|North Carolina||8:00 PM|
|Boston College||8:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||9:00 PM|
|(19) Louisville||12/5/13 6:30 PM|
|Bowling Green||12/6/13 7:00 PM|
|(16) Northern Ill|
|(15) UCF||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(18) Oklahoma||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|(6) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||12/7/13 11:00 AM|
|Memphis||12/7/13 12:00 PM|
|(23) Texas||12/7/13 2:30 PM|
|(5) Missouri||12/7/13 3:00 PM|
|So Florida||12/7/13 6:30 PM|
|(7) Stanford||12/7/13 6:45 PM|
|(11) Arizona State|
|(20) Duke||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|Louisiana||12/7/13 7:00 PM|
|(2) Ohio State||12/7/13 7:17 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|Utah State||12/7/13 9:00 PM|
|(24) Fresno State|
|Niagara||32||2nd Half 11:48|
|Miami-Ohio||61||2nd Half 1:49|
|George Mason||66||2nd Half 4:47|
|Saint Josephs||57||2nd Half 8:00|
|Eastern Illinois||37||2nd Half|
|(15) Nebraska||30||2nd Half|
|(18) North Carolina||40|
|Appalachian St||18||2nd Half 20:00|
|Bluefield College||29||2nd Half|
|Maryville (MO)||6:00 PM|
|St Francis-PA||6:00 PM|
|Western Carolina||6:00 PM|
|Towson||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Binghamton||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Ohio State||6:00 PM|
|Stony Brook||6:00 PM|
|Morehead St||6:00 PM|
|Georgia Southern||6:00 PM|
|American Univ||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Murray State||6:00 PM|
|Michigan State||6:00 PM|
|Boston U||6:00 PM|
|Tennessee St||6:00 PM|
|Rhode Island||0||1st Half 20:00|
|St Bonaventure||6:00 PM|
|James Madison||6:00 PM|
|Virginia Tech||6:00 PM|
|South Florida||6:05 PM|
|Fla Gulf Coast|
|Southern Ill||6:30 PM|
|SE Missouri St|
|Western Ill||6:30 PM|
|(4) Notre Dame||6:30 PM|
|(10) Penn State|
|Stephen F Austin||7:00 PM|
|Ark-Little Rock||7:00 PM|
|Northern Iowa||7:00 PM|
|(20) Iowa State|
|SE Louisiana||7:00 PM|
|Ark-Pine Bluff||7:00 PM|
|Eastern Michigan||7:00 PM|
|Oral Roberts||7:00 PM|
|North Texas||7:30 PM|
|(11) Colorado||8:00 PM|
|San Diego||9:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton|