KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gardner native Bubba Starling had a hit, a walk and two RBIs as the U.S. Olympic baseball team opened the Tokyo Games with an 8-1 win Friday against Israel.
Starling — a Gardner-Edgerton graduate who plays center field for the Royals’ Class AAA affiliate, the Omaha Stormchasers — went 1 for 3 with an RBI single and RBI groundout.
After a third-inning groundout to third base, Starling walked in the fourth inning.
He helped pad the U.S. lead with an RBI single in the sixth inning and drove in another run in the eighth inning with a groundout to the pitcher.
The U.S. took the lead with a three-run third inning after Eddy Alvarez, who won a silver medal in short-track speedskating in the 2014 Winter Olympics, ripped an RBI double and scored on Tyler Austin’s two-run home run to center field.
Austin added an RBI double in the seventh as the U.S. continued to pull away.
Right-hander Joe Ryan allowed only 1 run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings, while Ryder Ryan, Brandon Dickson and Anthony Carter each pitched a scoreless inning in relief to seal the win.
Israel also lost to South Korea in the three-team group and therefore has no chance at getting the playoff bye awarded to the group winner, which will be determined in the U.S.-South Korea game on Saturday.