Thu, Nov 15, 2007 - Page 20 News List

BASEBALL WORLD CUP: USA win pegs Taiwan back to second

UNDONE BY THE US In a battle for first place in Group A at the Baseball World Cup, Taiwan missed chances against the hard-hitting USA squad, which won the match-up 10-7

By Michael Kearney  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan second baseman Cheng Chao-hang, left, receives the ball as USA runner Colby Rasmus slides into second base during their Baseball World Cup game in Taichung yesterday.

PHOTO: Sam Yeh, AFP

In the battle for first place in Group A at the Baseball World Cup, the USA bats proved too strong for Taiwan.

Lin Ying-chieh, Taiwan's starting pitcher, pitched well through three innings, but the USA batters roughed him up in the fourth. Evan Longoria, Delwyn Young and Justin Ruggiano hit three doubles in a row off Lin, bringing home Longoria and Young and giving the USA a 3-1 advantage.

Taiwan managed to tie the score up in the fourth after an RBI triple by Chang Tai-shan and a sacrifice fly by Hsieh Chia-hsien.

In the fifth the USA scored three more runs but Taiwan fought back again, responding with a full-count, bases-loaded double by Hsieh in the bottom of the sixth. But from there the USA side proved too strong.

In the seventh Ruggiano hit a three-run home run of Shen Yu-chieh, bringing home Longoria and Young.

Taiwan had a chance to come back again in the eighth when Chang hit a two-out grounder that dribbled through the second baseman's feet and Hsieh hit a fly ball to left field that managed to find a hole between a pair of confused-looking USA outfielders. But Taiwan was not able to capitalize on the mistakes and came out of the inning without having scored a run.

The USA added an insurance run in the top of the ninth off a solo home run by Ruggiano.

Down 10-6 in the ninth Taiwan managed to load the bases, but they could only bring home one run.

Japan came third in Group A on the head-to-head rule after a close 4-3 win over Spain, while fourth place went to Panama after they beat winless South Africa 13-3 and finished with the same number of wins as Mexico, who beat Italy 11-2. But Panama advanced based on the head-to-head rule.

In Group B, Cuba was hit by a 2-1 upset -- its first loss of the tournament -- to a gritty Netherlands side, which secured third place thanks to their great result. But Cuba stayed on top of the group despite Australia just beating Canada 7-6, courtesy of the head-to-head rule. Canada cruelly finished fifth after South Korea put paid to Germany's unhappy tournament with an 8-1 victory and advanced on the head-to-head rule. Thailand lost all seven of its games, the final nail in the coffin being a 17-3 drubbing by sixth-placed Venezuela.

Tomorrow

Quarter-finals

12pm

Australia v Japan (Sinjhuang, Taipei County)

TAIWAN v Netherlands (Tianmu, Taipei City)

6pm

USA v South Korea (Sinjhuang)

Cuba v Panama (Tianmu)

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