HAVANA TIMES, March 9 — Mexico’s relief pitching fell apart at home on Sunday night giving up 10 runs in the final three innings to lose 17-7 to Australia in World Baseball Classic play. The upset gives Cuba an unexpected rival, the Aussies, in its second Pool B game on Tuesday.
To get a second shot at qualifying for round two of the WBC, Mexico must now defeat South Africa on Monday and then on Wednesday beat the loser of the Cuba-Australia game.
Australia had four home runs in its win over Mexico while Cuba had six in defeating South Africa 8-1.
In other action on Sunday, Team USA won a ticket to San Diego in Pool C by defeating Venezuela 12-5. The South Americans must now play a do-or-die game Tuesday against the winner of the Italy-Canada game on Monday.
In Pool D, the Dominican Republic rebounded off their surprise first game loss to The Netherlands and eliminated Panama with a 9-0 shutout. The Dominicans will still have to beat the loser of the game between The Netherlands and Puerto Rico to qualify for the second round.
The Pool A qualifiers, Korea and Japan, were decided early on the weekend and the two teams locked horns in a pitching duel on Monday to see which would head the group into San Diego for round two. Korea won the game on a 1-0 shutout before a packed house in Tokyo.