DURHAM, N.C. - Four former members of the Duke baseball team will play in the first of four upcoming World Baseball Classic qualifiers as Blue Devils Nate Freiman, Jeremy Gould and Jake Lemmerman will represent Israel, while Christopher Manno will take the field for Spain.
Israel and Spain are both set to compete in the WBC Qualifier in Jupiter, Fla., as part of a four-team group that also includes France and South Africa. Games begin at Roger Dean Stadium September 19 and will conclude September 23. The winner of that group, along with the winner of the three other qualifiers, will join 12 already qualified countries to make up the 16-team field for the March 2013 competition.
This past year, Freiman earned both mid- and post-season Texas League all-star honors, hitting .298 with 24 home runs and 105 RBI with the AA San Antonio Missions. He is also set to play for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League, which attracts many of the top prospects in minor league baseball. Freiman was selected in the eighth round of the 2009 draft after completing a stellar career with the Blue Devils, which saw him set the school standard for career home runs (43). As a senior, he led Duke in batting average (.352), home runs (20) and RBI (62) for the third consecutive season, becoming just the second player in school history to hit 20 home runs in a season.
Gould appeared in four games this past year with the Savannah Sand Gnats of the A South Atlantic League, allowing four earned runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of work. He was drafted by the New York Mets in the 28th round of the 2010 draft after a four-year career with the Blue Devils. Gould was a .331 career hitter at Duke with 18 home runs and 55 doubles in addition to making 16 appearances on the mound, striking out 10 in 21 innings.
Playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the AA Southern League, Lemmerman hit .233 with 29 doubles and seven home runs in 2012. Drafted in the fifth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010, Lemmerman played three seasons at Duke, batting .302 with 20 home runs and 125 RBI. In his final season in Durham, he led the Blue Devils with a .335 average, 11 home runs, 45 RBI and a .569 slugging percentage while committing just three errors in 227 chances, good for a .987 fielding percentage.
Manno went 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 50 appearances for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the AA Southern League this past season. Currently with the Cincinnati Reds organization, Manno was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 26th round of the 2010 MLB Draft. He went 13-11 in his career with the Blue Devils with 217 strikeouts in 188.1 innings of work.
Qualifier 1 Schedule
Wed, Sept. 19
South Africa vs. Israel
Thu, Sept. 20
Spain vs. France
Fri, Sept. 21
Israel vs. Spain or France
Fri, Sept. 21
South Africa vs. Spain or France
Sat, Sept. 22
Game between the two teams with one win and one lossTeam TBD
Sun, Sept. 23
Game between the two teams with two wins.
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