South Korea Advances to Second Round of World Baseball Classic
The Olympic champion South Korea advanced Sunday to the second round of the World Baseball Classic with a 14-0 rout of China in seven innings in Tokyo.
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South Korea put the game out of reach with five runs in the bottom of the fifth, capitalizing on two errors by China to take a 9-0 lead.
South Korea’s starter, Yoon Suk-min, picked up the victory after striking out four and holding China to two hits in six innings.
Lee Jin-young gave South Korea a 5-0 lead on a single up the middle that was misplayed by China’s second baseman, Liu Guangbiao. Choo Shin-soo, a Cleveland Indiansoutfielder, hit a grounder through the legs of first baseman Chu Fujia, allowing another run to score.
Reliever Zhu Dawei gave up a bases-loaded walk, and another run scored when Park Ki-hyuk reached on a fielding error by Liu. Lee Jong-wook drove in the ninth run of the game with a sacrifice fly.
South Korea added five runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the game was called under the tournament’s mercy rule when pitcher Lim Chang-yong recorded the final out in the top of the seventh.
South Korea moved on to the second round in San Diego and will meet Japan, the defending champion, to determine the top team in Pool A. Japan advanced to the second round with a 14-2 victory over South Korea on Saturday.
The second round begins March 15 and also features the winner and the runner-up from Pool B, which includes Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa.
China was eliminated from the 16-nation tournament, as was Taiwan, which was knocked out Saturday after a 4-1 loss to China.
“After a tough loss to Japan yesterday, I told my players all we needed was a win today,” said South Korea’s manager, Kim In-sik, “and it didn’t matter by how many runs.”
CUBA 8, SOUTH AFRICA 1 Frederich Cepeda hit two of Cuba’s tournament-record six home runs in its first game of the Classic in Mexico City. The previous home run record, four, was set by the Dominican Republic against Venezuela in the inaugural tournament in 2006.
Norge Luis Vera, a 37-year-old right-hander, allowed two hits and struck out six in six shutout innings for Cuba, which finished second in 2006.
Cepeda homered against Barry Armitage in the first. Alfredo Despaigne hit a two-run shot in the second, and Cepeda added his second solo shot in the third.
Armitage allowed five runs and eight hits in three innings. Jonathan Phillips drove in South Africa’s run with a single off Vladimir Garcia in the ninth.
On Tuesday, Cuba will play the winner of the second game in Pool B, between Mexico and Australia.
South Africa will play the loser of the second game.