En-Yu Lin struck out 13 in a complete-game shutout and shortstop Chih-Sheng Lin hit a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as Taiwan defeated Italy 1-0.
Lin, 27, worked with a low-90s fastball, scattering four hits without allowing a walk. The six-foot-two righthander was the MVP of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in 2005, one year before he set the CPBL single-season strikeout record with 209 strikeouts in 202 2/3 innings. In 2007, he pitched for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional League–Japan’s top professional baseball league–and had a 3.63 ERA in 34 2/3 innings, appearing in eight games and making seven starts.
Taiwan improved its record to 4-1 at the World Cup, tied for first place in Pool A with the United States. Italy, which already beat Team USA 6-2, is now 3-2. The game was originally scheduled to be the World Cup’s opening game, but was postponed until today due to rain. The rest of the teams had the day off.
In Pool A, Team USA and Taiwan are tied for first at 4-1. Team USA will be the heavy favorite against 0-5 South Africa tomorrow, while Taiwan faces 3-2 Panama. Team USA squares off against Taiwan in the final day off pool play on Wednesday.
Panama, Italy and Japan are all 3-2, while Mexico is 2-3. Italy faces Japan tomorrow in a key matchup that could bump one of those teams out of the quarterfinals. Four teams from each pool advance to the quarterfinals.
In Pool B, 5-0 Cuba has been the most dominant team in the tournament. The Cubans will be an overwhelming favorite to improve to 6-0 against 0-5 Taiwan before their final matchup against the Netherlands (3-2).
Australia (4-1) had its one loss in the World Cup’s first game, a 3-2 loss to Cuba in 10 innings. The Australians are the strong favorite tomorrow against 1-4 Germany before Wednesday’s showdown against Canada.
Canada, South Korea and the Netherlands are all 3-2, and the three teams are likely fighting for two quarterfinal spots. The Netherlands faces a challenging road, with games tomorrow against South Korea and Wednesday against Cuba. After facing the Netherlands, South Korea faces Germany in its final game. Canada plays 1-4 Venezuela tomorrow and Australia on Wednesday.
SCHEDULE (times listed are Taiwan local times)
Tuesday, Nov. 13
12 pm: USA vs. South Africa
12 pm: Italy vs. Japan
6 pm: Panama vs. Taiwan
6 pm: Mexico vs. Spain
12 pm: Australia vs. Germany
12 pm: Thailand vs. Cuba
6 pm: Korea vs. Netherlands
6 pm: Canada vs. Venezuela
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14
12 pm: Japan vs. Spain
12 pm: Mexico vs. Italy
6 pm: Taiwan vs. USA
6 pm: Panama vs. South Africa
12 pm: Cuba vs. Netherlands
12 pm: Germany vs. Korea
6 pm: Canada vs. Australia
6 pm: Venezuela vs. Thailand