Israel beats the Netherlands 4-2 in World Baseball Classic
Israel's third base coach Pat Doyle, right, passes by his team mascot, The Mensch on the Bench, during at the first round game of the World Baseball Classic at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Nate Freiman's RBI double sparked a three-run first inning Thursday as Israel beat the Netherlands 4-2 to finish at the top of Pool A in the World Baseball Classic with a 3-0 record.
Zach Borenstein and Ryan Lavarnway also drove in runs in the first for Israel, which clinched a berth in the second round when the Netherlands beat Taiwan 6-5 on Wednesday.
The Netherlands (2-1) also advanced to the next round, which starts Saturday at Tokyo Dome.
Sharlon Schoop scored on a throwing error by second baseman Tyler Krieger in the eighth to cut the lead to 4-2 but Didi Gregorious grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The top two teams from the second round advance to the championship round at Dodger Stadium. Israel will play in the first game of the second round on Saturday.
The two starting pitchers only went an inning apiece before each team worked in a full slate of relievers.
Israel's 38-year-old Jason Marquis threw a scoreless inning before being lifted. The Netherlands' Rob Cordemans, who at 42 has now pitched in all four World Baseball Classics, allowed three runs.
Josh Zeid, who worked out of a jam in the eighth, stayed on to pitch a scoreless ninth and earn his second save.
Israel is the first team to go undefeated in the first round of the Classic's main draw after emerging from one of the qualifiers. The previous best record for a team that came from the qualifiers was Taiwan's 2-1 finish in Pool B in 2013.
In Tokyo, James Beresford hit a grand slam in the eighth inning as Australia overpowered China 11-0 to improve to 1-1 in Pool B.
Luke Hughes also drove in four runs for Australia, which will play Cuba (1-1) on Friday with the winner advancing to the second round.
Japan, which secured a spot in the second round, had the day off and faces China on Friday.