Former Pioneer leads Team USA to 4-3 win over Japan

Former Pioneer leads Team USA to 4-3 win over Japan

TOKYO --- Former Tusculum University pitcher Brandon Dickson pitched a perfect ninth inning to lead Team USA to a 4-3 win over top-seeded Japan at the Tokyo Dome in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 Super Round.  With the victory, the stars and stripes move to 3-2 overall in the tournament and holds a 1-2 record in the Super Round standings.

Dickson, who plays with the Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon Professional Baseball League, retired the side in order in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts on 11 pitches to record his second save of the tournament.

Team USA will face Australia in the Tokyo Dome on Tuesday night (10 p.m. ET – Nov. 13, 12 p.m. in Tokyo).

The tournament is the first opportunity for Team USA to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The top finisher from both the Americas territory and Asia/Oceania territory (excluding Japan) will join host-country Japan and WBSC Baseball Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier champion Israel in the six-team Olympic tournament. The final two Olympic berths will be decided in March 2020.

Dickson has been one of the top pitchers in the Nippon Professional League in Japan for the past seven seasons with the Buffaloes. He logged a 3.33 ERA in in six years as a starter and posted 18 saves this year after moving to the bullpen. 

The Montgomery, Alabama native has 14 professional seasons under his belt, including the first seven within the St. Louis Cardinals organization, which signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Tusculum in 2006.

Dickson played two separate stints with St. Louis in 2011 and again in 2012.  He appeared in eight games for St. Louis, posting a 4.91 ERA in his 14.2 innings of work with no decisions.  He posted 13 strikeouts and made his lone major league start on Sept. 1, 2011, against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In his only season at Tusculum in 2006, Dickson went 5-2 with a 3.39 ERA. His 24 mound appearances are tied for the second most in a season at Tusculum and earned South Atlantic Conference All-Tournament honors.