TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Andy LaRoche drove in three runs with two
hits and a sacrifice fly to lead the United States to a 4-2 win
over South Africa on Tuesday and a berth in the quarterfinals of
the Baseball World Cup.
LaRoche, a third baseman and a prospect for the Los Angeles Dodgers, also scored a run for the U.S., which has a 5-1 record in
the tournament. On Sunday, LaRoche hit two home runs in a 12-2 win
Matt Wright (1-0) made his second start of the tournament, and
allowed one run on one hit and struck out four in three innings.
Team USA used a total of six pitchers, who combined for 10 strikeouts.
The U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the first when Colby Rasmus led off
with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and
scored on a double by LaRoche, who later scored on an RBI hit by
LaRoche had a sacrifice fly in the second and a run-scoring hit in the fourth.
The U.S. closes Group A play Wednesday against Chinese Taipei
and a win would give them the top seed entering the elimination
rounds. The quarterfinals begin Friday.
In other games Tuesday, Cuba defeated Thailand 11-1 for its
sixth straight victory to lead Group B, while Australia beat
Germany 4-2, the Netherlands topped South Korea 5-1; and Canada
defeated Venezuela 6-3.
In Group A, it was Japan 11, Italy 0; Mexico 19, Spain 1; and
host Taiwan 10, Panama 0.