Mexico, United States, Venezuela and Puerto Rico complete World Baseball Classic quarterfinals lineup

Mexico, United States, Venezuela and Puerto Rico complete World Baseball Classic quarterfinals lineup
After Cuba beat Australia in the first quarterfinal on Wednesday, Japan plays Italy in the second quarterfinal in Tokyo on Thursday. The other two quarterfinals see Mexico play Puerto Rico on Friday and USA take on Venezuela on Saturday - both games in Miami.

The World Baseball Classic 2023 quarterfinals lineup was completed on the last day of group play with Venezuela, the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico all recording victories on Wednesday, 15 March.

Venezuela had already secured first place in Group D and finished with a win over Israel, 5-1. They will face USA in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 18 March, since the US earned second place in Group C with a 3-2 over Colombia.

Mexico beat Canada, 10-3, in an elimination game to earn first place in Group C. On Friday, 17 March, they will face Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals. The Boricua secured second place in Group D by beating the Dominican Republic 5-2 in another elimination game.

World Baseball Classic Day 8 results

Mexico-Canada10-3BOX SCORE
USA-Colombia3-2BOX SCORE
Venezuela-Israel5-1BOX SCORE
Puerto Rico-Dominican Republic5-2BOX SCORE

Group C

Mike Trout led world No. 3 the United States driving in all three runs to record a 3-2 win over No. 11 Colombia and earn the final quarterfinal spot in Group C. Team USA will face Pool D winners Venezuela on Saturday.

As Colombia manager Jolbert Cabrera used the bullpen to great effect, using a relieving pitcher for every turn of USA's batting line-up, the home side started the scoring in the top of the third, as six-time All-Star Mookie Betts converted a run off Trout’s single to centre field.

By the bottom of the third, Colombia erased the deficit and grabbed a 2-1 lead, with a sacrifice fly and Reynaldo Rodriguez’s double that allowed Oscar Mercado and Jorge Alfaro to cross the plate.

The United States started with Merrill Kelly, who pitched the first three innings. Manager Mark DeRosa shared his confidence with Kelly whose familiarity with the venue spelt the difference in their bid to advance to the quarterfinals.

"We came off a nice win where everyone swung bats and had a good vibe that Lance Lynn set the tone," DeRosa said. "I feel comfortable with Merrill Kelly on the mound. This is his home ballpark. He pitches here all the time and he's pitched well here. He's got a slow heartbeat and I think he's the right man for the job."

Team USA produced a two-run outing in the top of the fifth as Trout lined a single to left field for Will Smith and Betts to score, swinging the momentum back to their side with a 3-2 lead.

Ryan Pressley replaced Devin Williams to seal the win, pitching a scoreless ninth with one strikeout and a hit.

WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup alumni Randy Arozarena carried world No. 5 Mexico past No. 14 Canada to advance his team to the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic. Arozarena had a five-RBI game, leading his team to a 10-3 win that qualified Mexico to the next round.

The Mexican left fielder scored the first run of the game in the top of the first, thanks to a two-run single by Rowdy Tellez. Canada shortstop Otto Lopez singled in the first run for Canada, but one inning later Arozarena picked up the first of his five RBIs with a line drive double to right field to make it 3-1.

Canada made it a one-run ballgame again with a Bo Naylor solo homer in the fourth, but a bases-clearing triple by Arozarena in the sixth gave Mexico a comfortable 6-2 lead. He also scored Mexico’s seventh run on a single by Joey Meneses.

One inning later, Arozarena stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded again, and he produced one more run, this time with a hit by pitch. 

Tellez, who homered in the eighth inning, ended up with three RBIs.

Mexico heads to the quarterfinals as the top team in Group C, and will play on Saturday against the second-place finisher from Group D, which ended up being Puerto Rico after they beat the Dominican Republic.

“I’m very happy with what we have accomplished so far, but it’s not enough for me. We made the first step, but we still have three more steps to make,” said Benjamin Gil, Mexico’s manager. "We know we'll face the winner of Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic, whoever it is, it's a great team."

GROUP C FINAL STANDINGS: Mexico, USA (3 wins-1 loss; Mexico is first thanks to the win in the head-to-head); Canada (2-2); Great Britain, Colombia (1-3; Great Britain won the head-to-head).

Group D

Francisco Lindor scored twice and batted in a RBI to lead world No. 13 Puerto Rico to an epic 5-2 win over world No. 9 the Dominican Republic in their final Group D game which had a quarterfinal ticket on the line. The victory moved the Boricuas on to a quarterfinal match-up against Mexico.

It was a pitcher’s duel in the first two innings until Puerto Rico broke open the scoring in the top of the third with Christian Vasquez’s solo homer to left field. A pair of RBI singles by Lindor and Enrique Hernandez allowed two more runs to be scored by Vimael Machin and Martin Maldonado, while a ground out allowed Lindor to come around to score the fourth run.

Juan Soto responded to score the Dominican Republic's first run with a monster homer to centre field that got their fans at LoanDepot out of their seats to celebrate.

Puerto Rico were back on the scoreboard to extend their lead to 5-1 when Lindor singled to centre field and eventually scored on a fielding error by Julio Rodriguez. The Dominican Republic responded in the same frame and reduced it to a three-run deficit when Manny Machado grounded out on a double play that allowed Francisco Mejia to score from third.

Edwin Diaz got the save in the ninth inning that sealed Puerto Rico’s 5-2 win over the Dominican Republic. However, the joy of Puerto Rico fans soon turned to concern after Diaz appeared to have injured his right leg at the post-game celebration.

"Right now, he is undergoing some tests, so we do not have any update on that yet. We will find out tonight about his situation," Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina said.

Molina stayed positive and was satisfied with the decision on the rotation of the pitchers against the Dominican Republic.

"Combining eight pitchers in such a spectacular way entailed a lot of preparations that involved a lot of heart and mind. We created something great by mixing all these factors," Molina said. "I wouldn't say that this was risky because this decision went through a lot of consultations with everyone involved in the team."

World No. 6 Venezuela completed group play with a perfect 4-0 record and advanced to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals as winners of Group D. The South Americas completed the sweep of the group with a 5-1 victory against world No. 20 Israel.

Ronald Acuña Jr and Eugenio Suarez gave Venezuela a 3-0 early lead with a pair of RBI singles in the top of the first inning. 

The Vinotinto team used the long ball to add two more runs In the fourth. Eduardo Escobar went deep to the centre field for a solo home run, and two innings later, Suarez homered himself to collect his third RBI of the game.

“The secret of this team is to put the ball in play and not try to do too much,” said Escobar. “We try to play our game, to do the little things and just play.”

Lefty Jesus Luzardo earned the win in four innings of work, delivering five strikeouts while giving up a walk and four hits. 

Israel's only game run was scored in the bottom of the seventh when Jakob Goldfarb plated Noah Mendlinger with an RBI single.

Israel ended in fourth place in Group D to secure their presence in the World Baseball Classic 2026