2002 World University Championship

From BR Bullpen


The 2002 World University Championship was the first edition of the World University Championship. It was played in Messina, Italy from August 2 through August 11.

Pool Play Results[edit]

Pool A[edit]

Country Record Runs Runs allowed
Flag of United States United States 3-1 38 7
Flag of Italy Italy 3-1 18 14
Flag of South Korea South Korea 2-2 23 23
Flag of People's Republic of China China 2-2 13 13
Flag of Canada Canada 0-4 7 42

Pool B[edit]

Country Record Runs Runs allowed
Flag of Cuba Cuba 4-0 29 4
Flag of Japan Japan 3-1 25 2
Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 2-2 17 14
Czech Republic 1-3 5 30
Flag of France France 0-4 6 32


  • USA 14, Czech Republic 1. 2B Rickie Weeks goes 4 for 4 with a triple, home run and 4 runs scored.
  • Taiwan 14, Italy 3. 3B Wei Kao goes 3 for 5 with two doubles and a home run as Italy gets routed for the second time, having lost 10-0 to the USA in round-robin competition.
  • Cuba 3, China 0. Osbeck Castillo and Orelvis Avila fan 13 in a combined 3-hitter to shut down the Chinese team.
  • Japan 6, South Korea 1. DH Shuichi Murata hits a 2-run homer and SS Takashi Toritani also drives in two while Kazuhito Tadano provides fine pitching.



  • Gold Medal Game: Cuba 6, USA 0. Kyle Sleeth and Wes Littleton got hammered after two consecutive weak showings by the Cuban offense. A balanced attack is responsible, while Orelvis Avila scatters 7 hits and two walks in Cuba's third straight shutout. The USA offense Avila shuts down includes Aubrey, Hill, Jackson, Weeks, Carlos Quentin and Eric Patterson. It was Sleeth's first loss since March of 2001, a year and a half earlier.
  • Bronze Medal Game: Japan 5, Taiwan 0. Hiroshi Kisanuki throws a 4-hit shutout while Japan also uses a balanced offense to take the game.
  • 5th/6th place Game: South Korea 12, Italy 2. The score is deceptive, as South Korea scored 9 of their 12 runs in the 9th inning.
  • 7th/8th place Game: China 9, Czech Republic 0. In one of four shutouts in the finals, Baoling Bai gives up just a single to the Czechs, striking out eight in an otherwise perfect game. Michal Koci gets the lone hit.
  • 9th/10th place Game: Canada 3, France 0. Rob Pineau saves the Canadians some face in avoiding last place after the other two Western Hemisphere teams got the top two medals.

Awards and Leaders[edit]

All-Tournament Team[edit]

MVP: Orelvis Avila, Cuba (1-0, 2 Sv, 0.66)

Outstanding Defensive Player: Jan Chudoba, Czech Republic 2B

  • Best Average: Nobuhiro Matsuda, Japan - .478
  • Most RBI: Pedro Rodriguez, Cuba - 12
  • Most HR: Pedro Rodriguez, Cuba - 4
  • Most Steals: Lingfeng Sun, China - 5
  • Most Wins: Brad Sullivan, USA - 2
  • Most Saves: Orelvis Avila, Cuba - 2
  • Most Strikeouts: Wei-Lun Pan, Taiwan - 2

Team Summaries[edit]

Flag of Cuba Cuba won with pitching, pitching and more pitching, throwing shutouts in six of seven games. Only Taiwan scored any runs against them. Tourney MVP Orelvis Avila (1-0, 2 Sv, 0.66), Alay Soler (1-0, 0.00, 21 K in 13 IP) and Norberto Gonzalez (1-0, 0 ER in 10 2/3 IP) were the three pitchers with shutouts to their credit and the only ones to work more than 5 innings. Several players hit well, led by DH Pedro Rodriguez (.320/.393/.840, 12 RBI, 4 HR) and LF Juan Miranda (.412/.500/.647), for the multi-dimensional club. Their 0.59 ERA was the best in the tourney, edging out Japan.

Flag of United States United States had the top offense of the tournament but could do nothing against Cuba's pitching and also lost to China in the round-robin. Brad Sullivan (2-0, 0 ER in 13 IP) pitched well and the staff had a 1.18 ERA overall. The clear leaders of the offensive fireworks were 1B Michael Aubrey (.400/.455/.947, 10 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR in 30 AB) and 3B Aaron Hill (.400/.531/.920). They led the tournament with 54 runs, 77 hits and 8 home runs.

Flag of Japan Japan almost beat the top two teams, losing 1-0 to Cuba in the round-robin (the closest Cuba came to a defeat) and 2-1 to the USA in the semifinals. They led the tourney with a .321 team batting average and their 0.61 ERA was second to Cuba by .02. 3B Nobuhiro Matsuda (.478/.520/.826) and SS Takashi Toritani (.333/.400/.630, 3 for 3 in SB) led the offense, while Hiroshi Kisanuki (1-1, 0.54) and Tsuyoshi Wada (1-1, 1.20) were the workhorses of the staff, which had no pitcher with an ERA over 1.23.

Flag of Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei had few stellar or horrible performances in finishing fourth. The clear star of the show was All-Tournament 3B Wei Kao (.440/.481/.760).

Flag of South Korea South Korea was wiped out by the USA (16-2) and lost twice to Japan, but was otherwise competitive. A couple part-timers hit very well and the offense was respectable, but no pitcher had an ERA under 2, a far cry from the top three teams. Seung-jae Yang (1-1, 2.13) was their most effective moundsman. OF Jeung-heo Seo was their sole All-Tournament player, hitting .375/.464/.458.

Flag of Italy Italy had a strong performance in the opening round, beating South Korea and China but losing to the USA. They then had a rough quarterfinals and finals, dropping games to Taiwan and the rematch with South Korea. OF Dana D'Agostino (.300/.348/.550) was the top hitter, but several weak performances left them with a .216 team average (.316 OBP, .330 slugging). 2B Davide Dallospedale (.318/.375/.409) was their only All-Tournament representative.

Flag of People's Republic of China China beat the USA in round one, but lost to Italy and South Korea. They then lost 3-0 to Cuba in the quarterfinals, keeping it close, before trouncing the Czechs in the finals in a hard-to-gauge performance. C Wei Wang hit .444/.500/1.111 while P Baoling Bai (1-1, 1.69) only allowed 5 hits and one walk in 16 innings while fanning 17.

The Czech Republic struggled on all fronts - they hit .116/.207/.142, fielded .910 (19 errors in six games) and had a team ERA of 8.39. No player had a particularly good tournament on either end of the ball.

Flag of Canada Canada lost every game in the first round by at least four runs, three of the four games by at least eight. They slugged .197 as a team and were outscored 42-10 overall, a 3-0 shutout over France in the finale saving them from a last-place finish. No one hit or pitched that well for the team.

Flag of France France was shutout in four of five games, only scoring against Taiwan.

Sources: IBAF website, 2003 Baseball Almanac