South Africa Eliminates New Zealand

It might help the World Baseball Classic if some of the games were closer. The closest game was the three run difference between South Africa and Australia. These two teams will battle again after South Africa proved their superiority over New Zealand with a 9-2 romp, the second time they have squashed New Zealand.

Keegan Swanepoel was the hitting star for South Africa with four hits, driving in both his runs in the four run fourth inning that blew the game wide open. Anthony Phillips drew four walks allowing him to score three runs and Kyle Botha drove in three runs to lead the offense. Gift Ngoepe finally got his first hit of the qualifier, a bat South Africa will need to be competitive against Australia.

The third inning was evidence of the struggles for the New Zealand pitching staff. Three walks, one of them intentionally resulted in South Africa exploding for four runs. In total, New Zealand pitchers walked 10 batters, not the kind of performance you want to get from a pitching staff to win games.

In the sixth inning after a Gift Ngoepe single, two more walks loaded the bases to set up a bases clearing double by Botha.

New Zealand scored both their runs in the fourth inning, Moko Moanaroa, brother of Boss and also an ex-Red Sox minor leaguer, doubled in both runs after two walks put runners on base. South Africa was less generous with the walks, but they will have to do better than the seven walks they issued against New Zealand. The 17 walks issued in the ball game makes for a long night of baseball.

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