Mérida, Yuc. (lelgordogringo.com.mx) 4 August 2021.-Triston Casas and Tyler Austin delivered a pair of home runs and plated all thee runs. The US will meet the loser of the Korea-Japan game in the second semifinal. Dominican Republic will play for bronze.

Triston Casas homered for the third consecutive game and Tyler Austin hit a solo shot in the fifth inning to power No. 4 USA past No. 7 Dominican Republic, 3-1, to advance to tomorrow’s semifinal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball competition. The Dominican team outhit the US lineup, but Casas’ and Austin’s long balls made the difference at Yokohama Stadium.

Scott Kazmir, a 13-year Major League Baseball (MLB) veteran and three-time MLB All-Star who appeared in three games this season with the San Francisco Giants, started and pitched five quality innings for USA. He allowed only two hits and a walk, while striking out 5 to grab the win. 

The first of the two hits came in the first inning, a bloop double by Erick Mejia to left field. Dominican Republic loaded the bases with one out, thanks to an error and a walk, but Kazmir escaped the jam with a pair of grounders. 

In USA’s first at bat, Austin walked with one out and Triston Casas hit and off-speed pitch into the center field bleachers to put his team in front, 2-0. The WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 MVP has homered in the last three games for USA. Casas is tied with Israel’s Danny Valencia (ISR) as tournament leader in home runs with three and leads all the players with 8 RBI over four games.

The Dominican starter was Denyi Reyes, whose only mistake was cashed in by Casas. He tossed four innings with two hits and two runs, and was charged with the loss. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Gabriel Arias replaced Reyes on the mound, and US designated hitter Tyler Austin rocketed a breaking pitch over the center field wall to make it 3-0. 

The US bullpen silenced the Dominican bats until the ninth inning, with scoreless appearances by Brandon Dickson, Scott McGough and Anthony Gose.

Manager Mike Scioscia sent David Robertson to pitch the ninth in a save situation. The right-hander retired the first two batters of the inning, but gave up a home run to Charlie Valerio. After walking Jeison Guzman, Robertson struck out Yefri Perez to close the door.

USA now advances to the second semifinal, scheduled for tomorrow against the loser of tonight’s first semifinal between Asian rivals, No. 1 Japan and No. 3 Korea. Dominican Republic will play in the Bronze Medal Game on Saturday at noon, JST.

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