Netherlands tops Australia to advance in Classic

Netherlands tops Australia to advance in Classic

TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- Baltimore Orioles prospect Jonathan Schoop clubbed a two-run homer Tuesday to lead the Kingdom of the Netherlands past Australia with a 4-1 victory to earn a spot in the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.

Chinese Taipei, who won the tiebreaker with Korea despite a loss on Tuesday, will join the Dutch as Pool B representatives in the next round. Cuba and Japan will also play in Tokyo.

The Netherlands scored early in the game but also missed several opportunities to score more runs, including in the bottom of first, when Andrelton Simmons doubled to left, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Schoop. Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina then singled to right on a breaking ball from Australian starter Dushan Ruzic. Former Atlanta Braves All-Star outfielder Andruw Jones' single to right put runners on first and third after two out, but the Netherlands were unable to add more runs when Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts grounded out.

Already leading 1-0, The Netherlands extended its lead in the bottom of second when Curt Smith led off with a single to center, followed by a single from Dashenko Ricardo. They advanced to second and third on a throwing error, and Smith scored after Simmons grounded out. Then Schoop launched a two-run homer to left.

Ruzic was replaced by Chris Oxspring in the bottom of third, and he pitched out of a jam, getting Ricardo to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Oxspring tossed five innings of shutout ball and gave up just one hit in relief, before Andrew Russell took over in the eighth. Russell tossed a scoreless inning. Left fielder Randolph Oduber helped back the Dutch pitchers with stellar defensive play, including a diving catch on a ball hit by Luke Hughes in the sixth.

Dutch starter Robbie Cordesmans had three 1-2-3 innings in five frames, and only two hits while striking out three.

The Aussies got on the board in the top of seventh when Brad Harman's single drove in Stefan Welch, who had doubled. Australia didn't gain any more ground, as Dutch reliever Leon Boyd struck out Chris Snelling, leaving runners on first and second to end the inning.

The Dutch started to look vulnerable in top of ninth after Mike Walker and Corey Adamson singled and a sharp fly ball to left from Harman made it seem that Aussies might have the opportunity to tie the game. But Oduber caught the ball to end Australia's hopes.

The win went to Cordesmans, while Ruzic was tagged with the loss.

The Dutch squad began the first round with a 5-0 upset over group favorite Korea, but the team underwhelmed in its 8-3 loss against Chinese Taipei producing only a single hit.

Among the Dutch hitters, Jones led his teammates by batting .429 in three games, while Bernadina contributed the most RBIs with three.

Dutch manager Hensley Meulens attributed the win significantly to strong pitching.

"Robbie pitched a great game. Five innings and no runs. That was the key to our win today," Meulens said. "The guys scored early to give him a bit of breathing room. The rest of the bullpen did a good job [too]."

Debby Wu is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.