We’ll be keeping an eye on the World Baseball Classic from day one to the championship game. Today, South Korea joined Japan in the second round.
What happened: South Korea became the second team to advance to the second round with a 14-0 win over China. The game was called in the seventh thanks to the mercy rule. The Dominican Republic bounced back from its upset loss to the Netherlands to beat Panama 7-0, while Cuba got its World Baseball Classic started with an easy 8-1 win over South Africa as the Cubans set a World Baseball Classic record with six home runs.
Team USA had three home runs (Kevin Youkilis, Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun) and seven extra-base hits in a 15-6 win over Venezuela. The win ensured that the U.S. will advance to the second round.
Australia pulled off the second-biggest upset of the tournament with a 17-7 win over Mexico. The game was shortened to eight innings thanks to the mercy rule.
The Stars: Korean righthander Suk-Min Yoon threw six scoreless innings against China. Bum Ho Lee hit a two-run home run for Korea, which set up a rematch with Japan for the Pool A title on Monday.
Frederick Cepeda hit two of Cuba’s six home runs as he went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs. All but one of Cuba’s starters had a hit, catcher Ariel Pestano had a pair of doubles, while starter Norge Vera allowed only two hits and struck out six in six scoreless innings.
Johnny Cueto struck out five in 4 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win for the Dominican Republic. Miguel Olivo went 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs for the Dominicans, while Nelson Cruz added a solo shot.
Youkilis and Dunn each homered for a second straight game for the U.S. and David Wright went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Chris Snelling hit two home runs for Australia while catcher Andrew Graham went 4-for-6.
Prospect Watch: Pirates minor leaguer Ray Chang had one of China’s two hits against Korea. Reds lefthander Pedro Viola finished off the Dominican win with a perfect ninth, striking out two.
Arguably everyone on the Cuban team would attract some interest if they were available to play in the majors, and nearly everyone on the Cuban team was impressive, but the 28-year-old Cepeda (2-for-3, 2 HR, 2 RBIs), the 23-year-old right fielder Alfredo Despaigne (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs), 24-year-old third baseman Yulieski Gourriel (1-for-4, HR) and 23-year-old center fielder Yoennis Cespedes (2-for-4, HR) were especially notable.
Twins prospect Luke Hughes’ hit the two-run homer that got Australia’s upset started, then he added an RBI single later as part of a 2-for-6 night. Phillies prospect Brad Harmon went 3-for-5 with four runs scored.
Coming Up: The Netherlands could become the surprise team of the tournament with a second upset–they can advance to the second round with a win over Puerto Rico at 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday. Canada will face Italy in an elimination game today in Pool C while South Africa will play Mexico at 10 p.m. in an elimination game in Mexico City.
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