Rob Glendinning and Robbie Perkins have both blasted three-run homers to lead Australia to a stunning 8-7 victory over world number four South Korea in their World Baseball Classic opener in Japan.
- The win over South Korea is Australia’s third ever at the World Baseball Classic
- Three-run homers from Robbie Glendinning and Robbie Perkins set up the famous win
- Australia next play China on Saturday, before games against Japan and the Czech Republic
Glendinning stepped up with with two teammates on base and South Korea leading by two runs in the top of the seventh innings at the Tokyo Dome on Thursday.
He ripped a 410-foot homer to deep left field off relieving pitcher Won-Jung Kim to give the underdogs a 5-4 lead.
They extended the lead to 8-4 an inning later when Canberra native Robbie Perkins delivered his monster three-run homer, backing the team’s confidence in their power-hitting.
South Korea rallied to get within one run at the bottom of the eighth but they could get no closer.
It was Australia’s third-ever win at the World Baseball Classic in their fifth trip to the biggest international tournament.
The game itself was full of twists, turns and swings. And home runs. Lots of home runs.
Logan Wade scored Darryl George on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning to put Australia up early.
Tim Kennelly added to Australia’s tally with a solo shot in the fifth to put them up 2-0.
But South Korea’s batters woke up in the fifth and sixth innings.
To that point, South Australian Jack O’Loughlin had pitched a perfect first two innings and Western Australia’s Mitch Neunborn followed him by retiring the first seven batters he faced.
It took 14 plate appearances before Korea finally got a runner on base by virtue of a walk in the fifth.
Then they piled it on and Euiji Yang blasted a ball over the left field fence off reliever Dan McGrath to put them up 3-2 before ByungHo Park drilled a ball off the top of the left field wall for another run.
South Korea started the game with star pitcher Ko Young-Pyo who went 4.1 innings, allowing four hits, two runs and hit two batters.
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After that, Korea used seven different relievers to finish the game.
Australia, ranked 10th in the world, emptied the bullpen, too, using nine pitchers.
They are early leaders in Pool B with two of the five teams to advance out of round-robin play into the quarter-finals next week.
Australia next face China on Saturday, when they are expected to win and put themselves in solid position to go through. They also face hosts Japan and the Czech Republic in their pool.