Canada Falls 7-6 To Australia, Loses Potential Quarterfinal Spot

In a game that featured plenty of minor leaguers involved in key situations, Australia scored three runs in the top of the ninth and recorded the final out of the game on a double play with the bases loaded to seal a 7-6 victory. The loss dropped Canada’s record to 5-3, eliminating the Canadians from a potential quarterfinal spot. Canada finished pool play tied with South Korea for fourth place in Pool B, but since South Korea beat Canada 5-0 in the teams’ first game of the World Cup, South Korea will advance to play Team USA on Friday.

Canada and Australia were tied 4-4 heading into the top of the ninth. Righthander Scott Richmond struck out pinch-hitter Michael Collins (Angels), then gave up a double down the right field line to Luke Hughes (Twins). With the top of the order up, center fielder Trent Oeltjen walked and shortstop Brad Harman (Phillies) doubled to left-center field to give Australia a 5-4 lead with runners on second and third.

After an intentional walk to left fielder Justin Huber (Royals) to load the bases, Richmond left the game and righthander Mike Johnson entered for Australia. On the first pitch, right fielder Ben Risinger lifted a pitch over the shortstop’s head, scoring two runs to make it a 7-4 game before Australia escaped further damage against the next batter with an inning-ending double play.

In the bottom of the ninth, Canada had the top of its order up. Australia lefthander Adam Bright (Rockies) walked second baseman Matt Rogelstad (Nationals) to start the inning before leaving the game. Righthander Brendan Wise (Tigers) came on in relief. He walked the first batter he faced to put runners on second and third, then allowed a single up the middle to Nick Weglarz (Indians) to make it a 7-5 game. Australia brought in lefthander Brad Thomas to face the lefthanded-hitting DH Mike Saunders (Mariners), who responded with his third hit of the game, a single up the middle to make it a 7-6 game and give Canada runners on first and second with no outs.

First baseman Jimmy Van Ostrand (Astros), who was 2-for-4 in the game, laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Australia opted to intentionally walk outfielder Jamie Romak (Pirates) to load the bases for shortstop Emmanuel Garcia (Mets), a speedy lefthanded hitter who was up for the first time in the game after entering as a pinch runner. On the first pitch, Garcia hit a grounder up the middle, which Harman fielded right at second base. Harman touched second and fired to first in time to get the game-ending double play.

Click here for pool play standings, the quarterfinal schedule and yesterday’s scoreboard.