Dodgers' LaRoche fuels Americans' win over South Africa
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 over Spain.
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 Steven Pearce.
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.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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