Australia runs out of magic vs. Mexico
Aussies head home after drastically improved Classic showing
By Christopher Ramirez / Special to MLB.com
Brett Roneberg's solo shot in the fourth was all the offense Australia could muster. (Gregory Bull/AP)
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MEXICO CITY -- Australia may have had the opening-night spoiler, but it was host Mexico with the vengeful encore.
Australia lost, 16-1, a mercy-rule drubbing lasting only six innings at the hands of Mexico on Wednesday night in a rematch of the teams' 2009 World Baseball Classic opener.
Australia trounced Mexico, 17-7, in eight innings with a Classic-record 22 hits on Sunday but was done one better by the Pool B host in an elimination game.
Offensive outbursts of four runs in the third inning, seven in the fourth and four in the sixth helped Mexico effectively overwhelm each Australian pitcher who was called to the mound.
"We were very disappointing tonight," Australia manager Jon Deeble said. "It wasn't the way we wanted to finish. But when you look back at it, we're one-all against Mexico. We kicked their behinds; they kicked ours."
Mexico with the win advances to Round 2 of the Classic in San Diego, while Australia is left to look back upon its experience and wonder what might have been.
"We took a big step forward. There's no doubt about that," Deeble said. "We've got to get more depth. A lot of people here don't realize we didn't have our eight Major League pitchers and our three pitchers from Japan."
Australian lefty David Welch began the game well, sitting down Mexico batters 1-2-3 in the first and second innings, but that didn't last long.
Mexico right fielder Karim Garcia led off the third inning with a single into right and moved to third base on the next play when Miguel Ojeda singled on a chopper past first. With runners at the corners, Augie Ojeda hit a slow grounder fielded by second baseman James Beresford, whose hesitation allowed Garcia to score and Ojeda to reach first safely.
Brothers Edgar and Adrian Gonzalez kept Mexico's rally rolling, with Edgar singling in Miguel Ojeda and Adrian hitting a grounder to bring in Augie Ojeda. Jorge Cantu capped the scoring with a double into left-center field that sent home Edgar Gonzalez and gave Mexico a 4-0 lead.
Lifted after the inning, Welch gave up four hits and four runs in three innings while striking out a pair. Australia sent seven pitchers to the mound in relief, and all but one allowed Mexico to add to its lead.
Brett Roneberg accounted for Australia's lone run, blasting a home run far over the fence in right field in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Australia finishes the Classic with a 1-2 record and having held its own against the likes of Cuba and Mexico, though that still isn't pleasing to Deeble.
"I wouldn't say it was a success," Deeble said. "Did we get better? Yes. Are we going to get better? Yes. We've still got a way to go, too."