The United States relied on star power to beat Colombia 3-2 in a hard-fought final game in Pool C of the World Baseball Classic. In doing so, Team USA earned a trip to the quarterfinals.
Miami is the setting for the final two quarterfinal matchups, starting with Pool C winner Mexico facing Pool D runner-up Puerto Rico on Friday at loanDepot Park, followed by Team USA, the Pool C runner-up, facing undefeated Venezuela on Saturday.
Mike Trout had three hits and drove in all three runs in the win over Colombia, the third victory in four games in pool play for the United States. That all of those RBI for Trout were Mookie Betts (twice) and Will Smith will stoke the trade lust of Dodgers fans for weeks.
Betts singled with two outs in the third inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored the first run of the game on a single by Trout. After Colombia took the lead, Smith led off the fifth with a walk, and advanced to third on a single by Betts, with Betts taking second on the throw. That extra base enabled Betts to score two pitches later, when Trout greeted reliever Jasier Herrera with a single to left to score two.
Betts played right field on Wednesday and batted leadoff, as he has in all four games so far for the United States.
The catching duties for Team USA in pool play were split evenly, with J.T. Realmuto and Smith starting twice each. Smith homered against Mexico on Sunday, and on Wednesday walked in his three plate appearances.
Smith also threw out Oscar Mercado trying to steal second base in the sixth inning, neutering a potential Colombian rally. Mercado was originally ruled safe, but the call was overturned upon review.
Will Smith with the throw, Tim Anderson with the tag— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 16, 2023
: WBC on FS1 pic.twitter.com/XygMS1BpAT
We’re down to six games remaining in the World Baseball Classic, one each over the next six days, culminating in Tuesday’s championship game.
Up next is Shohei Ohtani and Japan trying to stay undefeated against Italy, managed by Mike Piazza, in an early morning battle in Tokyo.
WBC Quarterfinals schedule
- Wednesday: Cuba 4, Australia 2
- Thursday: Italy vs. Japan (3 a.m. PT, FS2)
- Friday: Puerto Rico vs. Mexico (4 p.m., FS1)
- Saturday: United States vs. Venezuela (4 p.m., Fox)