Luke Hochevar didn't earn his first win until the last game of his summer trip to Tainan, Taiwan, where he competed as a member of the USA Baseball National Team in the FISU II World University Baseball Championship.
The University of Tennessee's rising junior right-hander struck out seven batters in seven innings to help his team capture the gold medal Sunday.
During one stretch of Team USA's 4-2 defeat over Japan in the final game, Hochevar retired 18 straight batters.
But his performance didn't start out golden. The Fowler, Colo., native gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning.
Meanwhile, Japanese starting pitcher Yasuhiro Ichiba had a perfect game through three innings. But as the American batters began knocking in runs in the fourth, their pitcher stopped allowing them (Hochevar allowed only two hits after the first inning).
After Hochevar left the game after the seventh, three U.S. relievers (Joey Devine, N.C. State; Cesar Ramos, Long Beach State; J. Brent Cox, Texas) sealed the win with two combined scoreless innings.
The American squad finished their overseas trip with an 8-0 record, outscoring its opponents 52-12.