It took ten innings, but Israel beat host Korea, 2-1. It was the opening game of the World Baseball Classic.
With one out in the top of the tenth, Ike Davis walked. Ryan Lavarnway followed with a single to move Davis to third base. After a failed bunt attempt for the second out, Scott Burcham hit a ground ball up the middle that the Korean second baseman knocked down but couldn’t make a play. A run scored and Israel took the lead.
To the bottom of the tenth, where Josh Zeid was still in for Israel (it was his third inning of work). Zeid got a line out and then struck out the final two batters of the game. His last strikeout came on five pitches and kept him under the 50-pitch limit (he threw 49 pitches). If Zeid had thrown another pitch, he would have been ineligible to pitch the rest of the first round.
Both teams left a ton of men on the bases (33 combined). In the inning that Israel took a 1-0 lead (the second), they left the bases loaded. They left the bases loaded again in the eighth.
Korea tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Zack Thornton walked the first batter and hit the next. He was pulled in favor of Jeremy Bleich, who got a strikeout before allowing an RBI single.
Bleich got out of the inning, but then allowed a single to start the sixth. In came KC Royals minor leaguer Gabe Cramer, who got a line out before allowing a single. Cramer then induced an inning ending double play.
Former Royal Cody Decker started as the DH and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He was pinch-hit for by Davis in the eighth. Former big leaguer Jason Marquis got the start for Israel and just like in the Qualifying Round in September, they held him under 50 pitches so he can start again in this round (3IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 3K).
It is a quick turnaround for Israel, who plays Chinese Taipei at 10pm ET on MLB Network. Korea is back on the field tomorrow at 5am ET against the Netherlands (8am ET on MLB Network on tape delay).
Pool B play in Tokyo begins tomorrow with Cuba playing host Japan at 5am ET on MLB Network.