South Korea beat out Taiwan 11-8, scoring three runs in extra-innings yesterday to take third place in Pool A of the World Baseball Classic at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome, while consigning the visitors to last place in the group with three losses this week.
With the game deadlocked at 8-8 in the tenth inning, Taiwan elected to go with its designated closer Chen Hung-wen.
Korean catcher Yang Eui-Ji scored the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly, then pinch-hitter Kim Tae-kyun tagged the losing pitcher Chen with a two-run homer for the hosts to take the lead.
Korean closer Oh Seung-hwan was pivotal to the thrilling win, as he got out of a jam in the ninth, and shut the door in the tenth inning to preserve the 11-8 triumph.
Taiwan now need to play qualification games in the next WBC tournament.
Both teams crashed out of the WBC on previous days, when Taiwan and South Korea lost to the Netherlands and Israel.
South Korea jumped out an early six-run lead by the top of second inning against Taiwan’s second pitcher Kuo Chun-lin and looked to have knocked out the visitors for good.
After getting a run in the opening frame, the hosts blew the game wide open with key runs batted in by Seo Geon-chang, Lee Yong-kyu and Son Ah-seop, along with a sacrifice fly by Min Byung-hun to score five runs to get ahead 6-0.
Taiwan replied in the bottom half of the inning, to open the account by first baseman Lin Yi-chuan scoring on a fielder’s choice, then Hu-Chin-lung delivered a hit to push two runners home, cutting the deficit to 6-3.
In the fourth inning, both teams’ fired-up batters continued the assault, with both sides grabbing two runs to make it 8-5.
Taiwan chased South Korea all the way, and got two runs on two RBI-singles to close the gap at 8-6 in the sixth frame.
Shortstop Chen Yung-chi singled to drive in a run to tie up the game at 8-8 in the seventh inning.
Israel, dubbed the Cinderella team, continued their amazing run with a 4-2 win over the Netherlands to top Pool A at the conclusion of first-round competition, with “Dutch Oranje” in second on two wins and one loss.
Jason Marquis, a 15-year veteran pitcher in US Major League Baseball who retired from the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, pocketed the win for his starting assignment with only one inning.
His teammates gave him all the support needed by plating three runs in the opening frame, and sent Israel on their way to take their third consecutive win.
In that early assault, Israel batters Nate Freiman, Zach Borenstein and Ryan Lavarnway each knocked in a run with men on bases to rattle starting pitcher Rob Cordemans, who played in Taiwan’s pro league with the Uni-President Lions in 2007.
The Netherlands replied with a run, when outfielder Randolph Oduber came home on a fielder’s choice in the third inning.
Then in the sixth frame, Israel added an insurance run when Borenstein grounded into a double play, but Ty Kelly scored from third base.
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