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Australia bows out of the World Baseball Classic

The Australian baseball team was unable to come away with a win at the World Baseball Classic. Credit: Team Australia Baseball/Facebook

The Australian baseball team was unable to come away with a win at the World Baseball Classic. Credit: Team Australia Baseball/Facebook

Australia’s disappointing time at the World Baseball Classic has come to end with a tough 4-1 loss Tuesday afternoon to the Netherlands in Taiwan.

Australia, winless in their three games, kicked off the tournament on Saturday night with a 4-1 loss to Pool B hosts Chinese Taipei. Facing former Cy Young runner up Chien-Ming Wang who pitched six shut out innings, the Australians were always going to be up against it.

On the mound for the Aussies was Sydney Blue Sox ace Chris Oxspring who struggled from the start giving a lead off single to Dai-Kang Yang advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Cheng-Min Peng singled through the right side.

The Taiwanese team’s fierce offense continued in the bottom of third and forced Australia to replace starter Chris Oxspring with reliever Dushan Ruzic.

Houston Astros farmhand Che-Hsuan Lin lined a single to center and went to second when Peng walked. Chih-Sheng Lin hit a ground-rule double to left, scoring Che-Hsuan Lin.

When Szu-Chi Chou grounded out, Peng scored another run, giving Chinese Taipei a 3-0 lead.

Peng put the icing on the cake for Chinese Taipei with a solo home run off Australian reliever Warwick Saupold in fifth.

Australia’s lone run came in the top of the 7th from Stefan Welch who clubbed a solo home run off reliever Yao-Hsun Yang.

Australia next faced a tough assignment on Monday evening against Pool B favourites South Korea.

Left fielder Hyunsoo Kim’s two-run single in the first inning put Korea on the board, and it eventually blanked Australia, 6-0 in first-round action at the World Baseball Classic in Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.

Korean batters led the charge early, scoring three runs in the top of first. Seung Yuop Lee doubled to put runners on second and third, and Dae Ho Lee walked to load the bases.

Kim then lined a single to center to plate two runs, and Ahseop Son finished the first-inning scoring with an RBI groundout.

Australian starter Ryan Searle – a member of the Cubs organisation – continued to have difficulties suppressing Korea’s attack in second.

He allowed a one-out single to Yongkyu Lee, who scored on a two-out double by Seung Yuop Lee.

Poor pitching by Australian reliever Shane Lindsay led to another run for Korea in the seventh.

Keunwoo Jeong reached on a forceout, and moved from first to third on two wild pitches from Lindsay. Jeong then scored on a single to left by Dae Ho Lee.

The Korean batters delivered 11 hits, while Australia tallied six. Australia managed to put pressure on Korea’s defense in some innings, but failed to drive in any runs.

Australia found themselves needing a win against the Netherlands to advance to the second round, and once again gave away a lead off single which lead to another first inning run to Andrelton Simmons.

The bottom of the second was much the same as the first with Curt Smith hitting a lead off single.

Pitcher Dushan Ruzic allowed Smith to advance on a throwing error which proved costly as Andrelton Simmons drove in the run with a one out ground out.

Things went from bad to worse for the Aussie when Jonathon Schoop belted a two run homer to give the Dutch a 4-0 lead and and from then on, it became a pitchers duel with reliever Chris Oxspring keeping them in the game with five scoreless runs before being replaced.

Dutch starter Robbie Cordemans also had a solid start allowing only two hits in a strong five innings.

Australia gave themselves a lifeline in the 7th as Stefan Welch hit a lead off double which was driven home by Brad Harman for his first RBI of the tournament.

A promising inning came to end as Australia once again left runners stranded on base.

Going into the top of the ninth Australia needing three runs to have any chance to keep their tournament alive.

But ultimately, that proved too much as Dutch closer Loek Van Mil held on in the 9th inning to send Australia home without a win in the tournament.

 Twitter: @DrinkwaterBlake

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