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Australia, S. Africa to meet for spot in WBC final

Philippines will take on New Zealand in first elimination game
Special to MLB.com

SYDNEY -- Australia and South Africa will meet on Friday at 3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 p.m. local time, streaming live on MLB.com and worldbaseballclassic.com and airing on MLB Network, in the winner's bracket of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, after the Aussies pounded out an 11-1 win vs. the Philippines, and South Africa opened up with a 7-1 victory over New Zealand.

The winner will secure a spot in the final at 10 p.m. ET Saturday/2 p.m. local time Sunday, streaming live on MLB.com and worldbaseballclassic.com and airing on MLB Network.

SYDNEY -- Australia and South Africa will meet on Friday at 3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 p.m. local time, streaming live on MLB.com and worldbaseballclassic.com and airing on MLB Network, in the winner's bracket of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier, after the Aussies pounded out an 11-1 win vs. the Philippines, and South Africa opened up with a 7-1 victory over New Zealand.

The winner will secure a spot in the final at 10 p.m. ET Saturday/2 p.m. local time Sunday, streaming live on MLB.com and worldbaseballclassic.com and airing on MLB Network.

Friday's winner's bracket will also feature two high-end prospects at short. Australia's James Beresford, who has spent the past two years with the Twins' Triple-A Rochester affiliate, went 4-for-5 with three RBIs against the Philippines in the opener that ended after seven innings because of the mercy rule. South Africa's Gift Ngoepe, who is on the Pirates' 40-man roster, showed off his glove at short and walked twice against New Zealand.

• Twins' farmhands lead Australia to WBC rout

South Africa got eight shutout innings of two-hit baseball from Mariners farmhand Dylan Unsworth in its win over New Zealand. Unsworth is confident of his team's chances based on the middle-infield combo of Ngoepe and Angels farmhand Anthony Phillips.

• Mariners' Unsworth leads RSA past New Zealand

"We have probably the best up-the-middle defense in this tournament," said Unsworth. "When you have Gift and Anthony up the middle, it is unbelievable."

South Africa knows what it has in front of them to be in the driver's seat for Sunday's finale.

"[It is] not going to be easy -- Australia in their own backyard, a lot of experience, a lot of depth in every area of their game. We're going to probably run out some of the younger staff out there and try and regroup and be ready for whatever happens and whatever takes place on Saturday," said South Africa manager Alan Phillips.

Right-hander Carl Michaels, 34, is slated to throw for South Africa. Michaels was a part of South Africa's Olympic team and was in the Brewers' farm system from 2001-02. Warwick Saupold, who pitched for Triple-A Toledo last season, will start for Australia.

In the other half of the bracket, right-hander Andrew Marck, who is one of three Kiwis from the Western Baseball League in Canada, will throw in an elimination game for New Zealand.

The winner of this game will face the loser of Australia-South Africa on Saturday at 2:30 a.m. ET/ 6:30 p.m. local time.

"The one thing I like about these guys is, when you get a bunch of guys coming from different places to pull together as quick as they did," said Philippines manager Tim Hulett. "This is one of those teams that, if they were together for a long haul you'd see a really good team by the end of the year. But unfortunately, it's a short thing, and we've got to pull it together [Friday]."

"We've got to put this one behind us and come out and compete a little harder tomorrow," said New Zealand manager Chris Woodward after his team's loss in the opener. "I told our guys from the beginning, 'We're going to need every single pitcher [and] every single position player at some point if we're going to even have a chance to win this thing.' So I think it's a good test for us moving forward. I would have rather have won, but we are where we are and we've got to fight back."

Qualifier schedule/results:

THURSDAY

South Africa 7, New Zealand 1

Australia 11, Philippines 1

FRIDAY

Philippines vs. New Zealand:
Local: 1 p.m.
ET: 9 p.m. Thursday
Watch: Live on MLB.com, WorldBaseballClassic.com and ESPN Pac-Rim

Australia vs. South Africa:
Local: 7:30 p.m.
ET: 3:30 a.m.
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com, WorldBaseballClassic.com and ESPN Pac-Rim

SATURDAY

TBD vs. TBD:
Local: 6:30 p.m.
ET: 2:30 a.m.
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com (ESPN Pac-Rim delayed to 12:30 p.m. local)

SUNDAY

Finalist 2 vs. Finalist 1:
Local: 2 p.m.
ET: 10 p.m. Saturday
Watch: Live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com (ESPN Pac-Rim delayed to 11 p.m. local)

Niall Adler is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Australia, South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand