A late-inning collapse by the bullpen led to three runs in the 10th for the Netherlands as Taiwan dropped Game 5 in the preliminaries to the Dutch team in the 2006 XVI Intercontinental Cup Baseball Championship in Taichung on Tuesday night.
The loss set the hosts back to a 2-3 record so far, with games against the Philippines last night and the undefeated defending champs from Cuba tonight still to come in the seven-game preliminaries, making it extremely difficult for Taiwan to finish with a winning record in the preliminaries.
Taiwan will have to count on Australia to beat the Netherlands and South Korea to defeat Italy in the preliminaries to have a remote chance of making it into the four-team medal round.
Tuesday night's contest had the Netherlands jumping to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the second on third baseman Ivanon Coffie's solo home run off Taiwanese starter Yang Jien-fu (Sinon Bulls) before Taiwan answered with a solo blast of its own off Dutch starter Rob Cordemans.
The 1-1 tie from the third stood through the ninth with bother starters holding the opposition to four hits over the first innings and the bullpens also doing its part with three innings of scoreless relief, forcing the game into extra innings.
Keng Bo-hsuan, who entered in the top of the ninth in relief of right-hander Lin Yueh-ping (President Lions) with a runner on first and no outs, was able to keep the Netherlands from scoring by recording back-to-back strikeouts to end the Dutch scoring threat.
But his luck ran out in the 10th with two devastating walks and a single to Coffie that loaded the bases with only one out to set up shortstop Raily Legito's sacrifice fly that put his team ahead 2-1.
That was not all for Keng as the Dutchmen followed with a two-run single by outfielder Danny Rombley that made it 4-1, blowing the game wide open.
The three-run deficit proved too much for Taiwan to overcome as it managed to score once in the bottom of the 10th on the strength of a single by outfielder Chang Jien-ming and a double by red-hot second baseman Chen Yong-ji off Dutch closer Dave Draijer.
But that was as close as Taiwan got, with first baseman Hsieh Jia-shien grounding out to first, with a runner in scoring position to end the game.
Michiel van Kampen, who used only three pitches to induce an inning-ending double play for Taiwan in the bottom of the ninth, was credited with the win while his counterpart Keng was tagged with the loss for faltering in the 10th.
Taiwan's inability to come up with the clutch hits ultimately cost it the game and perhaps the chance to advance into the medal round as it batted a combined 0-for-7 with men in scoring position and stranded a total of eight to end the game.