Team USA used a five-run sixth inning to defeat South Korea 7-2 on Thursday and advance to the gold medal game in baseball at the 2020 Summer Games in Yokohama, Japan.
Joe Ryan, the Minnesota Twins’ No. 8 prospect, pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed four hits and one run.
Team USA’s Jack Lopez and designated hitter Tyler Austin each drove in two runs. For the Americans, left fielder Jamie Westbrook hit a home run.
Saturday’s gold medal game pits the United States against Japan. South Korea won the gold medal the last time baseball was a sport at the Olympics in 2008. In the bronze medal game in 2008, Team USA defeated Japan.
Lopez gave the Americans a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on Thursday. With his solo homer in the fourth, Westbrook extended Team USA’s lead to 2-0.
South Korean centre fielder Park Hae-min cut the deficit in half with an RBI single in the fifth inning, but Team USA answered with a six-run inning barrage.
Team USA third baseman Todd Frazier started the frame with a 12-pitch walk. Westbrook reached base with a single two at-bats later. Catcher Mark Kolozsvary plated Frazier with a single in the next at-bat. Shortstop Nick Allen followed with another walk, which loaded the bases.
Lopez followed with an RBI single to left field, bringing in Westbrook. Eddy Alvarez, at second base, followed with an RBI groundout. In the next at-bat, Austin gave the Americans a 7-1 lead with a two-run single.
Shortstop for South Korea In the top of the seventh, Oh Ji-hwan responded with an RBI double to make the score 7-2. For the rest of the game, neither team scored.
Team USA will look to avenge its quarterfinal loss to Japan in the gold medal game, which will be broadcast on NBCOlympics.com at 6 a.m. EDT Saturday.
In the bronze medal game, South Korea will face the Dominican Republic.
Greece’s Paraskevi Papachristou competes during the triple jump qualifier on July 30. Photo by Richard Ellis