Baseball: Netherlands reach WBC second round

Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run homer to lead the Netherlands to a 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday, securing a place in the second round at the World Baseball Classic.

Pool B leaders Taiwan, with a 2-0 win-loss record, were playing South Korea, who have a 1-1 record, later in the day in Taichung, Taiwan. But the Dutch will advance to the second round in Tokyo regardless of the outcome of that game.

"Robbie (Cordemans) pitched a great game. Five innings and no runs," said Dutch head coach Hensley Meulens.

"That was the key to our win today. The guys scored early to give him a bit of breathing room. The rest of the bullpen did a good job, too," he added.

Outfielder Roger Bernadina earned the first run by hitting a single to the centre field in the first inning and the Netherlands stretched the lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning.

Curt Smith led off with a single to the centre, followed by a single from Dashenko Ricardo before they advanced to the second and third bases on an error. Smith came back after Andrelton Simmons grounded out.

Then Schoop launched a two-run homer to the left.

Australia managed to pull one back when infielder Brad Harman hit a single to the left to welcome Stefan Welch from the second base in the seventh inning.

In the four-team Pool A round robin in Fukuoka, China gained a consolation win by beating Brazil 5-2, after two-time champions Japan and Cuba already qualified for the second round a day earlier.

Trailing 0-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, China pulled one back on a walk with the three bases occupied, and then fourth batter Ray Chang fired a two-run single to the left to take a 3-2 lead.

By the end of the inning, Brazil's pitchers had given up six walks, handing China three of their five runs.

Two teams will emerge from the five-day Asian second round, starting Friday, and will fight it out with the top sides from pools C and D, held in Puerto Rico and Arizona, in the final series in San Francisco later this month.