World Baseball Classic: Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) Loses to South Korea, Relegated

For the second straight night, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) lost a nail-biter at the World Baseball Classic. And for the second straight night, it was closer Chen Hung-Wen who got saddled with the loss. 

South Korea's Oh Jaewon singled with one out in the top of the 10th, moved to third on Son Ah-seop's single and then came around to score on a Yang Euiji sacrifice fly. Kim Taekyun then added a two-run home run for good measure. 

St. Louis Cardinals closer Oh Seung Wan pitched a clean bottom of the 10th, after putting out a Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) threat in the ninth, as South Korea won 11-8 to avoid finishing last in Pool A. 

The loss means Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), ranked fourth in the WBSC rankings, finishes last in the group and will have to go through the qualifying stages in order to make it back to the next World Baseball Classic, which will presumably be in 2021.

Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) looked utterly overmatched early as South Korea feasted on pitchers Chen Kuan-Yu and Kuo Chun-Lin by putting up one in the first and adding five more in the second for an early 6-0 lead. 

But Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) rallied for three in the bottom of the second on a Chen Yung-Chi groundout and a Hu Chin-Lung two-RBI single to cut the deficit in half. 

Things then started to get heated between the two Asian rivals. Five batters were hit by pitches in the middle innings, which resulted in warnings being given to both dugouts and the ejection of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) pitcher Huang Sheng-Hsiung. 

The teams then traded two runs apiece in the fourth inning before Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) put up two in the sixth on a laser-beam of a home run by Lin Che-Hsuan, and one more in the seventh to even the game at 8-8. 

Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) had a chance for the walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth after Chiang Chih-Hsien led off the inning with a double. But Oh, the best pitcher in Pool A, was quickly summoned from the bullpen and promptly got three outs, stranding Chiang.

Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) came into the WBC without its strongest roster, but at 0-3 it's a disappointing finish nonetheless. There will likely be sweeping changes to the national team program over the next few months as it tries to figure out what went wrong. 

Box Score

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