TOKYO --- Former Tusculum University pitcher Brandon Dickson recorded his third save of the tournament as Team USA rallied to defeat Chinese Taipei 3-2 Friday at the Tokyo Dome in its final game of the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 Super Round.
With the victory, the U.S. finished the Super Round with a 2-3 record (4-3 overall) and awaits the results of the three final games to determine who will play in the bronze medal game.
Dickson, who has emerged as the closer out of the bullpen for Team USA, pitched a perfect ninth inning as he got a line out and two strikeouts to preserve the one-run victory for the stars and stripes.
Dickson has pitched well for the United States during the Premier12 where he has made four appearances with three saves. He has allowed one run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings of work along with eight strikeouts.
His second save of the tournament came earlier this week as Team USA defeated top-seed Japan, 4-3 as Dickson close out the game retiring the side with two strikeouts.
"Brandon has been incredible. He's been terrific for us," said U.S. manager Scott Brosius. "A veteran presence to close out a game and he shown a lot of it on the mound and has pitched extremely well for us."
If Chinese Taipei defeats Australia in their matchup on Saturday, the U.S. will play in the bronze medal game at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday. Additionally, if that result comes to fruition and Korea defeats Mexico, the stars and stripes will face Mexico in the bronze medal game with a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on the line.
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 Orix Buffaloes. He logged a 3.33 ERA 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.