Nick Martinez pitched five innings of one-run ball to lead Team USA to a 4-2 victory over South Korea in the final group stage game of the 2020 Summer Games baseball tournament Saturday in Yokohama, Japan.
The victory earned the Americans the top seed in Group B, which means they will skip the first round of the knockout round of the double-elimination tournament.
In Saturday’s win, first baseman Triston Casas went one for four with a two-run homer. Team USA also had RBIs from designated hitter Tyler Austin and shortstop Nick Allen.
Martinez struck out nine batters and walked none during his 87-pitch outing.
South Korea got off to a hot start. Center fielder Hae Min Park and right fielder Jung Hoo Lee started the game with back-to-back singles. Park scored when left fielder Hyunsoo Kim reached base on a fielder’s choice in the next at-bat.
South Korea starter Ko Young-pyo did not allow a hit for the first two innings. Team USA then rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Young-pyo hit second baseman Eddy Alvarez with a pitch in the first at-bat of the half-inning. He then struck out designated hitter Tyler Austin, which prompted Casas to step into the box.
The Team USA first baseman reached down and swatted a 2-2 offering over the right field fence for a two-run homer.
Allen added to the lead with a solo homer to left field in the bottom of the fifth. Austin plated left fielder Jamie Westbrook with an RBI single three at-bats later for Team USA’s fourth run.
South Korea first baseman Jaeil Oh plated the game’s final run with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth.
Team USA battles Japan in the second round of the knockout round Monday. Japan claimed the top seed from Group A with a 2-0 record, which included a 7-4 win over Mexico on Saturday in Yokohama.
France goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni can’t stop a goal from Mexico forward Uriel Antuna (not seen) in a Men’s Group A soccer match during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games on July 22. Photo by Bob Strong