WBC: DR Dominates, Cuba Slams To Advance, Italy Shocks Mexico
The World Baseball Classic continued with more first round games on Thursday as the powerful Dominican Republic lineup took care of Canada handily with a 9-2 victory in the classic opener.
The Dominican team took an early lead with four runs in the bottom of the second highlighted by a two-run home run off the bat of Welington Castillo, sandwiched by RBI singles off the bats of Gregory Polanco and Jose Bautista.
But the Dominican team put the foot on the gas pedal and added a run in the bottom of the fifth, a three run bomb from Bautista on the sixth and for insurance, Jose Reyes lined out to second but a throwing error allowed Adrian Beltre to score from third.
On the mound Carlos Martinez tossed four innings, allowing just one run on three hits and struck out three.
Cuba 4, Australia 2
Facing elimination, both Cuba and Australia entered their game needed a win to advance to the second round of the classic. Both teams had chances to score through the first four innings but ran themselves out of opportunities to take a lead.
In the top of the fifth, Logan Wade hit an RBI single scoring Mitch Dening to finally break through the scoreless game and put Australia up 1-0. But in the bottom of the frame, Cuba would strike with a vengeance as Alfredo Despaigne hit a grand slam over the left field fence putting Cuba up for good. Australia tried to make a comeback scoring a run in the seventh on Trent Oeltjen‘s solo shot and a run in the eighth on an RBI single from Dening, but would come up short and fall to Cuba 4-3 ending their classic hopes. Cuba joined Israel, Japan and the Netherlands in the second round starting on March 12th in Tokyo.
Italy 10, Mexico 9 – Walk-Off
Down four runs in the bottom of the 9th, Italy stormed back to shock Mexico and walk-off to a 10-9 victory.
Then in the third, Mexico added a run in the third and two in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Quiroz got Mexico on the board again hitting an RBI double to right field scoring Sebastian Elizalde. Japhet Amador then hit a line drive home run over the left center field wall and Efren Navarro scored ahead of an Eizalde single adding to the lead.
The Mexican team answered right back with three runs in the top of the fifth, highlighted by a bases loaded walk and a two RBI double of the bat of Luis Alfonso Cruz to go up 7-4.
But Team Italy would continue to chip away at the lead and stay close as Drew Butera homered in the fifth inning to keep Italy within striking distance at 7-5.
Mexico looking to secure a first game victory, added a run in the top of the seventh when Elizade singled scoring Amador.
But this night would belong to a resilient Italy team as they scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off Mexico. Alex Liddi doubled home two runs, Brandon Nimmo singled home a run and Andreoli singled off the second baseman’s glove allowing the tying and winning runs to score on the same play, stealing game one from Mexico.