Israel continued its undefeated run on Wednesday night, beating Netherlands 4-2 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea to win Pool A of the World Baseball Classic, finishing the first-round undefeated at 3-0.
Both Israel and Netherlands already secured spots in the second round by winning their first two games, making Wednesday’s contest a battle for seeding in the next round. Israel and Netherlands will be joined in the second round by the top two teams from Pool B in Tokyo.
Israel has been the story of the tournament to date. A first-time entrant for the WBC by virtue of winning a four-team qualifying tournament last September in Brooklyn, Israel got this World Baseball Classic started with a pair of wins on Monday (Monday and Tuesday in South Korea), with wins over Korea and Chinese Taipei.
On Wednesday night, Israel struck first with a three-run first inning, including a double by first baseman Nate Freiman, giving the MLB free agent five RBI in three games in the WBC.
Jason Marquis started for Israel on Wednesday but only pitched an inning. It was scoreless, giving the 38-year-old veteran four scoreless frames in Pool A. He last pitched in MLB in 2015.
Marquis was one of nine different pitchers used by Israel on Wednesday night, the first seven of which all pitched one inning. Israel outscored its opponents 21-10 in three games so far in the tournament.
Netherlands staged a rally in the eighth inning, scoring a run and loading the bases to pull within two runs, but Josh Zied induced a double play from Didi Gregorius to get out of the jam and preserve Israel’s lead. Zeid also retired the side in order in the ninth to record the save.
This Netherlands team is compelling in their own right. Now in their fourth World Baseball Classic, Netherlands has improved with each tournament. After failing to get out of the first round in 2006, Netherlands advanced to the second round in 2009, the to the championship round in 2013, falling in the semifinals to eventual champion Dominican Republic four years ago.
These two teams will meet again in the next round, in Pool E at the Tokyo Dome. They are scheduled to play at 6 a.m. ET on Monday morning, the second game for both in the second round.