Beijing-The United States baseball team, managed by former Aggie baseball player Davey Johnson, dropped a thrilling 8-7 decision to South Korea in their first game on Wednesday.
South Korea, who had not played baseball in the Olympics since 2000, pulled out all the stops in its return, including using two pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth after being down 7-6 entering the bottom of the ninth.
Down two runs, American Mike Hessman opened the U.S. team's ninth inning rally with a home run over the left-field fence before Taylor Teagarden and Brian Barden hit a single and a double. With the bases loaded and two outs, Matt Brown singled to center field, driving in two more runs to give the U.S. a 7-6 lead.
The final inning proved too much for relief pitcher Jeff Stevens, however, who threw wildly to first base in an attempted pick off, allowing Lee Taekkeun to advance to third. Stevens then gave up the walk-off single clinched victory for Korea.
MEN’S ARCHERY – Wunderle Advances to Round of 16
After a tough start in the qualifying and team portion of the Olympics, former Aggie archer Vic Wunderle rebounded impressively to win his first two head-to-head 12-arrow matches in the single-elimination individual tournament.
In the round of 64, Wunderle, seeded 41st, defeated No. 24 seed Eduardo Sanchez of Mexico, 106-102.
Less than an hour later in the round of 32, Wunderle won a marathon match with Italy’s Ilario di Buo’, seeded ninth, following two one-arrow shoot-offs. The two tied at 108 points apiece, then tied again in the first sudden death one arrow shoot-off, 9-9. However, Wunderle’s aim was true on the second sudden death arrow, claiming victory over the Italian, 10-8.
Wunderle, the last American left standing in the men’s archery competition, will take on No. 8 seed Im Dong-Hyung of South Korea in the round of 16 at 10:48 p.m. CDT on Thursday.
WOMEN’S SWIMMING – Marshall Becomes A&M’s First U.S. Olympic Medalist in Swimming
Aggie senior-to-be Christine Marshall became Texas A&M’s first-ever female Olympic medalist in the sport of swimming thanks to a bronze medal showing by the U.S. 800-meter freestyle relay team.
Marshall swam a time of 1:58.58 on the second leg for the Americans in prelims on Wednesday night as the U.S. qualified second behind France in 7:52.43. During Thursday morning’s championship final, the group of Allison Schmitt, Natalie Coughlin, Caroline Burckle and Katie Hoff brought home the bronze in 7:46.33. The Americans were almost four full seconds under the world record, however so were Australia (7:44.31) and China (7:45.93), finishing ahead of the U.S.
Despite not making it out of the preliminary rounds for the first time all week, Canadian superstar Julia Wilkinson still managed to put her name on yet another national record. Wilkinson teamed with Stephanie Horner, Genevieve Saumur, and Erica Morningstar to set a new Canadian record in the 800-meter freestyle relay. The quartet’s time of 7:56.26 earned them 10th-place, just .63 short of making Thursday morning’s championship final.
Wilkinson also competed in the 100-meter freestyle preliminaries, placing in a tie for 16th with German Petra Dallman at 54.70. Rather than swim a third race in the session, Wilkinson graciously gave Dallman the spot in the semifinals, electing to save herself for the 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter medley relay later this week. Thursday morning’s session marked the first time all week Wilkinson did not compete in a race which allowed her time to recover from one of the busiest schedules of any athlete at the Olympic Games.
Aggie junior-to-be Alia Atkinson broke her own Jamaican record in the 200-meter breaststroke during preliminaries on Wednesday night. Atkinson lowered her record of 2:31.28 set in Austin on June 5 to 2:29.53. Atkinson, who owns seven Jamaican national records, earned a 26th-place finish among the 40-woman field.
Triin Aljand, competing in the second of three events for Estonia, earned a 33rd place finish among 48 entrants in the 100-meter freestyle after recording a time of 56.10.
WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL – USA 3, VENEZUELA 1
The U.S. women’s volleyball team moved to 2-1 in Pool A play with a 25-17, 20-25, 25-14, 25-18 win against Venezuela (0-3) on Wednesday afternoon.
Aggie Stacy Sykora saw action during the third game as well as at the end of the fourth game, setting up several kills including the game-winner at match point.
The U.S ranks in a tie for second in its pool with China at 2-1. Cuba leads the pool at 3-0 with victories over the Americans and the Chinese.
Up next for the Americans will be a highly celebrated game against host China on Friday at 7 a.m. CDT. The U.S. is coached by former Chinese star Jenny Lang Ping, who helped her country win gold at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. Lang Ping is so celebrated in her country that her marriage was broadcast on national television.