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(WBC) S. Korea to start right-hander Song Seung-jun vs. Australia

All Headlines 22:32 March 03, 2013

By Yoo Jee-ho

TAICHUNG, Taiwan, March 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will start right-hander Song Seung-jun in a crucial first round contest against Australia at the ongoing World Baseball Classic (WBC), officials said Sunday.

Song, 32, will take the mound at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, with South Korea's bid to win its first WBC championship in jeopardy. After suffering a 5-0 loss against the Netherlands Saturday, South Korea must beat Australia Monday and then Taiwan on Tuesday for a chance to reach the next round.

Australia will counter with right-hander Ryan Searle. The 23-year-old has made 154 appearances in the past eight seasons for the Chicago Cubs affiliates in the U.S. minor leagues.

Taiwan defeated the Netherlands 8-3 in the only game of Sunday. There is now a strong possibility that three countries, South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands, could end the first round tied with two wins and a loss apiece. They will then go to a tiebreaker to determine the nations that will move on to the next round.

In a case when three teams end the first round with identical records, the country that has scored the most runs while having given up the fewest will have the edge in the tiebreaker formula called Team's Quality Balance (TQB).

Song spent eight seasons in the U.S. minor leagues for four different organizations, primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but never advanced beyond Triple-A.

Song has been one of South Korea's most durable starters since joining the Lotte Giants in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) in 2007. He has pitched at least 150 innings in each of his past five seasons and has averaged nearly 12 wins a season over the same stretch.

Song throws a heavy fastball along with a sweeping curve and a forkball. Searle, who has primarily been a relief pitcher in the minors, mixes his fastball with a curve.

Australia lost its opener to Taiwan, 4-1, on Saturday.

Pitchers may only throw 65 pitches per game in the first round. If a pitcher goes over 50, he must sit out for the next four days. If the pitch count exceeds 30, then the pitcher has to rest for one day.

South Korea used seven pitchers against the Netherlands. Aside from the starter Yoon Suk-min, none of the six pitchers that followed threw more than 30.

For Australia, seven pitchers took the mound against Taiwan. Starter Oxspring was the only one to go over 40 pitches, which means he, too, could be available against South Korea if necessary.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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