Following as 2-1 loss to a tough American squad last Saturday, Team Taiwan has played well enough with three wins over Mexico, Canada, and the Czech Republic in this year's World University Baseball Championship to qualify for the semifinal round which is scheduled to begin in Tainan today.
Other than another one-run loss to Team Japan in Wednesday's 3-2 final, Team Taiwan has handled its opponents with relative ease -- defeating them with a combined 31 to 5 margin of victory.
taiwan 4, mexico 3
The young group of athletes from Taiwan's top college baseball programs nearly lost the contest against Mexico in a 4-3 decision on Sunday, allowing two quick runs in the bottom of the first on Mexican first baseman Carlos Sosa's two-run homer off starter Su Tzeh-yi (蘇哲毅).
Team Taiwan would come back in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3 on RBI singles by right fielder Yang Yao-hsun (
The score remained tied until the 10th inning when slugger Luo Guo-hui (羅國輝) led off the inning with a triple, and then scored the game-winner on pinch hitter Lin Jin-pin's (林津平) line drive to left field.
Reliever Tseng Song-wei (增菘瑋) allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings en route to the victory, while Mexican starter Raul Ortega suffered the tough loss.
Fourteen hits, including long balls by Chung Cheng-yo (鍾承佑) and Luo Guo-hui piled on 12 runs for Team Taiwan in Monday's game against the Czech Republic.
The game ended after seven frames with Taiwan claiming the 12-1 victory in accordance to the 10-run "mercy rule," which grants the team with a 10 run-or-more lead the win after seven innings of play.
japan 3, taiwan 2
Following a day off on Tuesday, Team Taiwan took on a scrappy squad from Japan on Wednesday.
The Japanese jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning against junior righty Lee Guo-ching (
Taiwan finally got on the board in the top of the fourth with a pair of runs -- Lin Jin-pin's solo blast over the left-center fence off Japanese starter Ichiba Yasuhiro broke the goose egg for the home team before second baseman Su Wei-chuan's (蘇偉銓) double, coupled with an error on the relay throw, scored the runner all the way from first.
Taiwan missed a golden opportunity to even things up in the fourth inning when base runner Tu Chuang-hsun (
The 3-2 score would stand until the end because the Taiwanese offense was unable to come up with timely hits, despite having runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings.
"Hats off to their catcher for being alert in tagging out Tu after he saw that the home-plate umpire made no call on the play," head coach Kung Jung-tang (
taiwan 15, canada 0
Team Taiwan secured locked up a berth in the semifinals of the event with a 15-0 win over the Canadians on Thursday.
The 10-run "mercy rule" was in effect again for the game as Luo Guo-hui and Hsu Guo-rong (
Five different pitchers, none of whom threw for more than two innings, took the mound for Taiwan as skipper Kung rested his young throwers.
He will need all the pitching help he can get in the remaining contest against South Korea, which has also qualified for the semifinals with a 3-2 record in their five previous preliminary round games.
With a record of 6-0, Team USA will be the top seed heading into the four-team semifinals, followed by Japan (5-1), Taiwan (3-2), and South Korea (3-2).
Pending the outcome of the Taiwan-South Korea game, the winner will face the second-seed Japan in this afternoon's first game, while the loser will take on the Americans in the second game tonight.
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