USA women drop Grand Prix volleyball match

Stanford grad and Olympic gold medalist to return to beach tour

The U.S. women's national volleyball team lost to Germany, 25-23, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23, on Saturday in pool play of the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix in Gdynia, Poland.

Team USA (1-1) concludes the Pool B preliminary round against host Poland (2-0) on Sunday.

In the fourth set, Germany battled from deficits of 15-11 and 19-16 to win the set, 25-23, and the match.

"I think we played good enough to get to the tie break," U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it. We played better than yesterday and we hope we will improve before tomorrow's game against Poland."

Texas grad Destinee Hooker, also a former NCAA track and field champion in the high jump, led the U.S. with 24 points on 20 kills and four blocks. Penn State grad Megan Hodge had 16 points on 12 kills and four blocks.

Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo contributed nine kills on 17 attacks and a match-high five blocks for 14 points. Cardinal grad Cynthia Barboza came off the bench to score 10 points with eight kills and two aces.

Women's beach volleyball

Stanford grad and Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh announced she will play with UC Santa Barbara's Brooke Hanson for the remainder of the season.

Cardinal grad Bev Oden made the announcement on her volleyball blog last week.

Walsh's former partner Misty May was committed to playing with Nicole Branagh for the season and Hanson parted ways with Lisa Rutledge recently.

Walsh and Hanson will play at the AVP Tour event in San Francisco on Sept. 11-12 at Little Marina Green Park.

They were scheduled to make their debut in San Francisco when the tournament was originally slated for Aug. 14-15 at AT&T Park.

USA Baseball

Alfredo Despaigne hit two home runs including a walk-off, three-run home run in the 10th inning to give Cuba a 4-3 win over Team USA in the gold medal game Saturday night at the FISU World University Baseball Championships inside Meiji Jingu Stadium in Tokyo.

For the second time in the tournament USA played an extra inning game under the International Baseball Federation's tie-break rule, which was instituted in July of 2008, starts in the 10th stanza and each inning needed thereafter, base runners are placed on first and second with no outs.

Trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the 10th, Leonys Martin took second and Yoilan Cerce stood on first for Cuba. Nick Ramirez got Hector Olivera to fly out to center for the first out before Despaigne stepped into the box with runners on the corners and lifted a 0-1 change-up to right field clearing the bases and giving Cuba a 4-3 win.

Vladimir Garcia picked up the win despite throwing just two pitches and recording an out. Starter Miguel Gonzalez threw 151 pitches recording 14 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. The right-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on eight hits.

Nick Ramirez (0-1) suffered the loss allowing three runs, one earned, on one hit in 1 1/3 inning. Ramirez entered the game in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and no outs and induced a 1-2-3 double play before getting Olivera to fly out to center.

U.S. starter Gerrit Cole tossed seven innings of shutout ball despite giving up 10 hits. He fanned two batters and walked one, but got out of several jams with his inside fastball and change up that shattered three bats and broke six overall.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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