3/4/2013 3:15 P.M. ET
Dutch, Aussies clash, eye second-round berth
By Debby Wu / Special to MLB.com
TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- The Kingdom of the Netherlands will need its sluggers re-energized Tuesday if it wants to overpower Australia in both teams' final game of the first round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
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In a game that can be seen live on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. ET on Monday night), the Dutch would advance to the second round with a victory and a Korean loss, while Australia could keep its hopes of advancing alive with a win.
Chinese Taipei has emerged as the Pool B favorite after securing two consecutive wins with its overpowering lineup in the first round. The Netherlands and Korea are both trailing behind with one win each.
The two teams with the most wins will go to the next round, but it remains unclear which two teams in Pool B will advance. If at the end of play in the first round, two or more teams within a pool are tied with an identical winning percentage, the tie will be broken based on head-to-head records or by ranking each team's Team Quality Balance (TQB).
TQB is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus the number of runs allowed, divided by the number of innings played on defense. For purposes of determining TQB, only the scores from the games between the tied teams are to be used in the calculation.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands lost, 8-3, to Chinese Taipei on Sunday. The Dutch squad was unable to hold on after taking an early three-run lead, thanks in part to a two-run double by Dashenko Ricardo of the San Francisco Giants organization.
However, Ricardo's double was the only hit by the Netherlands -- a sharp contrast to its productive offense in a 5-0 upset win a day earlier over group favorite Korea.
Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina stood out against Korea, contributing two RBIs.
The Dutch squad's loaded lineup -- which also includes Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, former All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones and Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Wladimir Balentien -- could rebound against relatively inexperienced Australian pitchers.
Dutch manager Hensley Meulens said the upcoming game against Australia would not be easy.
"They are going to give us a battle. We have to play a good game again," he said. "They have some good arms in the bullpen, pitching wise. They have some guys [who] hit balls for power. We are going to have to pitch well again like we did [against Korea], and score runs."
Meanwhile, Australia faces tough challenges against experienced Dutch sluggers. The Aussies lost, 4-1, in Saturday's game against Chinese Taipei. Tigers farmhand Chris Oxspring started and was mainly responsible for the loss, giving up five hits and three runs in 2 2/3 innings. Pirates Minor Leaguer Stefan Welch clubbed a solo homer in the seventh for Australia's lone tally.
The Australian squad suffered a 6-0 defeat against Korea on Monday. Starter Ryan Searle of the Cubs organization was unable to suppress Korea's lineup.
The Koreans led early, scoring three runs in the first, highlighted by a two-run single from Hyun-Soo Kim of Korea's Doosan Bears. Ah-Seop Son added an RBI in the inning on a groundout. Searle gave up another earned run in second.
Australian skipper Jon Deeble said despite two consecutive losses, his team will strive to win the game against the Netherlands.
"We've got to score a lot of runs and not let the opposition have any. It's simple as that," Deeble said.
The Aussies, who unexpectedly snatched the silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics under Deeble's guidance, are reckoned as the underdogs in the pool as they are the lowest ranked among the four teams. Australia was eliminated in the first round of the two previous Classic tournaments.
Debby Wu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.