Defending world champions Taiwan on Thursday clinched the top spot in the super round standings at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Florida after overpowering the previously undefeated US 6-2.
Taiwan now have a 3-0 record and sit at the top of the standings after their first game in the super round because they carried over victories against Japan and Mexico in the preliminary round.
Taiwan were paced by starting pitcher Yang Nien-hsi, who allowed only two runs over seven complete innings and struck out five US batters.
Photo courtesy of the CTBA via CNA
Taiwan took control early and were quick to put numbers on the scoreboard as left fielder Chen Chih-yu pocketed the first run of the game on a throwing error to first base after a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the first inning.
Just two pitches later, Lin Chia-wei hit a sacrifice fly to center field to raise the score to 2-0 as second baseman Zheng Jun-wei made it back to the home plate.
However, it was not until in the bottom of the third that Taiwan staged a decisive four-run bonanza when designated hitter Sun Yi-lei singled through the right side for Lin to score.
Sun later scored on a double off the left-field wall by catcher Sung Jia-xiang.
Sung and outfielder Lin Sheng-en also scored in the inning to lift Taiwan’s lead to 6-0.
The US’ only two runs of the game were unleashed in the top of the fourth inning when first baseman Bryce Eldridge smacked a two-run homer that went over the center-field wall.
Both sides went scoreless for the remainder of the game, with Taiwan winning 6-2.
Yang’s complete-game performance followed Lin’s one-hit gem against Mexico on Monday.
Taiwan were due to face South Korea at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida, at 12:30am this morning Taiwan time.
The top two sides from the super round, which also features the Netherlands, advance to the tournament’s championship game, with the third and fourth-placed teams battling it out in the bronze-medal game.
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