Jun 30, 2013 6:37 PM by Eric Burdick
Cal Poly junior-to-be southpaw Matt Imhof has been selected to the final 24-man roster of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team that will take part in international competition this summer.
The group of 24, managed by TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle, features 12 hitters and 12 pitchers. Five members will be serving their second tour with the squad. Imhof is Cal Poly's first Team USA member since the Mustangs moved to Division I 19 years ago. Second baseman Matt Jensen was selected for Team USA tryouts in 2009 and 2010.
The College National Team is 7-0 with three more training games remaining against Coastal Plain League teams today through Tuesday before the team leaves Wednesday for one game exhibition contest against the Matsuyama Industrial League on Friday in Matsuyama, Japan.
The 39th edition of the five-game USA-Japan series gets underway Saturday, also in Matsuyama, Japan. Two games will be played in Matsuyama, with the third game in Hiroshima, the fourth in Utsunomiya and the final game in Tokyo. Upon returning to the United States, Team USA will play a trio of exhibition games in Elgin, Ill., before opening up a five-game series against Cuba on July 18 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Other games against Cuba will be played in Omaha, Neb., Cary, N.C., and Durham, N.C.
Imhof pitched in one training game Thursday night and struck out five batters in four scoreless, hitless innings against the Wilmington Sharks of the Coast Plain League in Wilmington, N.C.
Imhof faced the minimum 12 batters during his only appearance on the mound so far for Team USA. He issued a leadoff walk in the first inning, but that runner was erased on an ensuing double play and Imhof retired 11 straight batters to end his stint and earn the victory.
Imhof earned the victory in the game shortened to six innings by rain and won by Team USA 7-3.
"For Matt to receive an invitation to the Team USA tryouts and earn selection to the team speaks to what he has accomplished over the last two years," 11th-year Cal Poly head coach Larry Lee said. "I have no doubt that he will represent not only Team USA but Cal Poly well. It will be a great honor and great experience for Matt."
Imhof was Cal Poly's Saturday starter on the mound this season and compiled a 7-3 record and 2.74 ERA. The Mustangs also were 4-2 in Imhof's six no-decisions this year.
"Matt had an excellent sophomore season, combining for a real solid one-two punch with Joey Wagman," said Lee. "He was unlucky in that, when he pitched, we did not have a lot of offensive support for him or his record would have been much better. He was involved in a lot of no-decisions."
Imhof's first career complete game as a Mustang was a seven-hitter in a 7-1 victory over UC Davis. He notched a career-high 12 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings for the win against Cal State Northridge and also struck out 11 batters in games against Notre Dame and Hawai'i.
Imhof, winner of the team's Dick Morrow Coaches Award, struck out 95 batters and allowed 30 walks in 101 2/3 innings. Opponents hit just .249 against the 6-5, 220-pound native of Fremont, Calif.
In his last start of the 2013 season, Imhof had a no-hitter through five innings against UCLA in the NCAA Division I Los Angeles Regional with five strikeouts. Cal Poly led 4-0 before the Bruins broke through for four runs on three hits in the sixth inning en route to a 6-4 victory.
As a true freshman in 2012, Imhof started four weekend games in the first two months and compiled a 1-0 record and 3.04 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 47.1 innings.
Imhof is a 2011 graduate of Mission San Jose High School.
Returning to the Collegiate National Team are David Berg (RHP, UCLA), Michael Conforto (OF, Oregon State), Austin Cousino (OF, Kentucky), Carlos Rodon (LHP, NC State) and Trea Turner (IF, NC State). For Cousino, it marks the third time in his career that he will represent USA Baseball after also playing with the 16U National Team.
Three members of the team are making their debut on the collegiate roster, but have represented USA Baseball at various times throughout their prep careers. Alex Bregman (IF, LSU) has played with the 16U and 18U National Teams, while C.J. Hinojosa (IF, Texas) participated with the 14U National Team and 16U Team. Ryan Burr (RP, Arizona State) played with the 16U Team.
Sixteen athletes, including Imhof, will be representing USA Baseball for the first time in their amateur careers. TCU leads the way with three participants in LHP Brandon Finnegan, RHP Preston Morrison and RHP Riley Ferrell.
Along with TCU and NC State, Indiana also boasts multiple participants in catcher Kyle Schwarber and infielder Sam Travis.
Rounding out the roster are: Tyler Beede (RHP, Vanderbilt), Skye Bolt (OF, North Carolina), Nick Burdi (Louisville), Matt Chapman (IF, Cal State Fullerton), Grayson Greiner (C, South Carolina), Daniel Mengden (RHP, Texas A&M), Taylor Sparks (IF, UC Irvine), Tommy Thorpe (LHP, Oregon), Luke Weaver (RHP, Florida State) and Brad Zimmer (OF, San Francisco).
Remaining with the team until their departure for Japan on July 3 are Chris Diaz (LHP, Miami, Fla.) and Trent Thornton (RHP, North Carolina).
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