CARY, N.C. (Univ. of Ark.) – Less than a week after finishing their 2018 seasons with the Arkansas Razorbacks, outfielder Dominic Fletcher and left-handed pitcher Matt Cronin will get to continue playing this summer as they will suit up for the Team USA Collegiate National Team starting this week in North Carolina.
Fletcher and Cronin are the 15th and 16th members of the Razorbacks to don the Red, White, and Blue over the years, joining a long list of former and even current Arkansas players to play for the USA Collegiate National Team, including this year’s catcher Grant Koch.
Koch made the roster last year after being invited to training camp at the start of the 2017 summer. He ended up earning a spot and led Team USA in hitting (.372) over the two-month tour, playing in 20 games and starting 12.
Current head coach Dave Van Horn also served time as the manager of the USA Collegiate National Team in the summer of 2014, making trips to the Netherlands and Cuba.
This year, both Fletcher and Cronin were integral parts in Arkansas reaching its ninth College World Series in school history this year and first CWS Finals since 1979. Fletcher hit .288 (77-for-267) for his sophomore season with 27 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs, 49 RBIs, and was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team. He also became the first Razorback to hit 10 or more home runs in each of his first two years since Rodney Nye hit 15 and 20 long balls, respectively, in 1998 and 1999.
As for Cronin, the southpaw from Navarre, Florida couldn’t have asked for a better sophomore year with the Hogs as he broke the Arkansas single-season record for saves, notching 14 in 25 appearances, breaking the previous record of 13 set by Colby Suggs in 2013. Cronin’s 14 saves were good for second-most in the SEC and 14th in the nation.
This year, Team USA is led by LSU head coach Paul Mainieri and began its schedule on June 27 against the Coastal Plain League Select. The team is currently in the midst of a five-game series with Chinese-Taipei, which concludes today in Cary, North Carolina. Fletcher made his first appearance with the team last night, going 1-for-3 at the plate in the 4-2 victory.
Team USA will play Japan in a five-game series (July 3-8) next in five different locations across Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina as part of the 42nd USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series. Then, the team will finish the summer in Havana, Cuba for the 7th Annual USA vs. Cuba International Friendship Series (July 10-14).
Fletcher and Cronin are two of 11 SEC players on the 24-man roster, including Daniel Cabrera (LSU), Tanner Burns (Auburn), Parker Caracci (Ole Miss), John Doxakis (Texas A&M), Zack Hess (LSU), Will Holland (Auburn), Braden Shewmake (Texas A&M), Zack Thompson (Kentucky), and Zach Watson (LSU).
Through The Years: Razorbacks On Team USA
RHP Darrell Ackerfelds (1984)
INF Jeff King (1985)
RHP Doug Bennett (1990)
RHP Philip Stidham (1990)
RHP Nick Schmidt (2006)
INF Logan Forsythe (2007)
INF Andy Wilkins (2009)
RHP D.J. Baxendale (2011)
INF Dominic Ficociello (2011)
INF Matt Reynolds (2011)
RHP Ryne Stanek (2011, 2012)
RHP Trey Killian (2014)
RHP Zach Jackson (2015)
C Grant Koch (2017)
OF Dominic Fletcher (2018)
LHP Matt Cronin (2018)
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