Baseball: Australia breezes by Philippines

Luke Hughes #16 of Team Australia is greeted by teammates. Photo / Getty Images
Luke Hughes #16 of Team Australia is greeted by teammates. Photo / Getty Images

Overcoming an early deficit and a slow start in their first game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, Australia beat the Philippines 11-1 in seven innings on Thursday night at Blue Sox Stadium in Sydney.

Aussie shortstop and Minnesota Twins minor leaguer James Beresford led the offensive charge with four hits in the game, driving in three runs for the home side.

Participating in his third WBC event, the 27-year-old from Victoria helped to back a solid six-inning start from Canberra's Steve Kent.

The left-handed Atlanta Braves farmhand allowed one run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts.

The underdog Philippines squad took a lead in the opening frame of the matchup, with third baseman Brady Conlan driving in the team's only run of the game in the first, bringing Eric Farris around after he led off the game with an infield single for the visitors.

The hosts came back with a run in the bottom half of the first, went ahead with one in the second, added two in the fifth, and ended the game with a seven-run seventh.

First baseman Stefan Welch had three RBI in the matchup, and former big leaguer Trent Oeltjen drove in two of his own.

Veteran Major League hurler Peter Moylan threw the seventh inning and struck out the side.

Philippines starter JR Bunda played in two innings before leaving the game after straining his throwing elbow.

The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, walking two and striking out one.

The visiting squad followed with five different relievers, including Clay Rapada, whose WBC Qualifier appearance marks the end of his playing career.

Earlier, South Africa opened the World Baseball Classic Qualifier with a 7-1 win over New Zealand.

Dylan Unsworth dominated the innings, allowing only two hits and walking none to shut out the Diamondblacks.

"When we arrived in Australia, one of the guys we targeted for this game was going to be Dylan," South African manager Alan Phillips said.

"He is probably our most experienced starter.

We have a lot of other guys who might do better relief work, so with six years of pro ball, in games like this it comes out nicely."

New Zealand plays the Philippines on Friday, with the loser eliminated. Australia meets South Africa in the later game with a place in the final on the line.

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