Cox helps Team USA to win in Olympic qualifying
HAVANA, Cuba -- Former University of Texas standout J. Brent Cox made his first appearance at the 2006 Pan American Baseball Confederation (COPABE) Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Havana, Cuba on Sunday evening as he helped Team USA fend off Brazil, 8-7, in the second game of pool play.
Cox entered the contest in the top of the sixth inning and pitched 2.0 innings for the Red, White and Blue. He scattered three hits and one walk, allowing one run, while striking out three members of the Brazilian squad. Team USA won the game when Kurt Suzuki delivered a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Twelve countries from the Americas are competing in Cuba, with the top two finishers advancing to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The third and fourth place finishers in Cuba will advance to a secondary Olympic qualifying event to be held in the spring of 2008. Team USA opened up the tournament with 9-3 win over Canada on Saturday and followed it up with Sunday's extra-inning victory. The squad has three more games of pool play slated with contests against Aruba on Monday, Puerto Rico on Tuesday and Venezuela on Wednesday.
In tune-up games leading up to the qualifying, Cox made two appearances, covering 3.0 innings of work. He yielded one run on two hits and three walks, while striking out three.
This marks Cox's second tour of duty with the USA Baseball National Team. Cox appeared as a closer for Team USA during the summer of 2004 under the direction of head coach Frank Cruz. He helped the Americans amass an 18-7 overall record, including a perfect 8-0 mark during the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World University Championships in Taiwan to capture the Gold Medal. He went 2-1 with a team-best four saves during his 12 relief appearances for Team USA as he registered the third-best ERA on the staff (2.08). He fanned 25 batters in 17.1 innings of work and held opposing batters to a .131 batting average. Cox posted one win and all four of his saves, including one in each of the final three games of the tournament, during the World University Championships. He did not allow a hit and issued four walks while striking out nine batters over five relief outings, which spanned 5.1 innings of work.
This season, Cox has appeared in 41 games as a member of the Trenton Thunder, International League Class AAA Affiliate of the New York Yankees. He owns a 6-2 record with a 1.75 ERA. In 77.0 innings of work, he has allowed an opponent batting average of .196 and has logged 60 strikeouts.
Cox starred with the Longhorns from 2003-05. He was a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2004 and 2005. In 2005, he led the nation with a school single-season record 19 saves en route to earning first-team All-American recognition, as well as being named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers' Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year. He finished his career with 24 saves and a 1.99 ERA.