Dutch look to punch ticket to Round 2 vs. Chinese Taipei

March 7th, 2017

The Netherlands is looking to guarantee itself a place in the second round, while Chinese Taipei hopes to avoid elimination, as the World Baseball Classic continues Wednesday with pool play from Seoul, South Korea, at 4:30 a.m. ET.

In Wednesday's pitching matchup, Chinese Taipei will send righty Chia-Hao Sung to the mound against Netherlands right-hander , who earned an All-Star selection in 2011 with the Atlanta Braves. Sung pitched for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Nippon Professional League in 2016.

A dark-horse contender to compete for its first global baseball title after placing fourth in the 2013 Classic, the Netherlands started hot with a dominant 5-0 win over Korea on Tuesday, dropping the host nation into a steep 0-2 hole.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Chinese Taipei opened the tournament Monday with a 15-7 loss to Classic newcomer Israel, which won its first two games to become the story of the tournament thus far.

The top two teams from Pool A will advance to the second round in Tokyo next week, which means that a Netherlands win over Chinese Taipei would seal the fate for all four teams.

The Netherlands and Chinese Taipei could not have played more opposite opening games. Chinese Taipei allowed four straight hits to open its game and found it down four runs after one inning. The Netherlands opened play with three consecutive hits against Korea and left the first inning up three runs -- a lead the Dutch would never relinquish. Chinese Taipei and the Netherlands were the two teams to come out of this geographic pool in the 2013 Classic, but Israel's emergence makes that unlikely this time around.

Things to know about this game

• Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens has the luxury of five Major League middle infielders on his roster. All need to be in the lineup for the Netherlands to operate offensively on all cylinders, so how he aligns them will constitute a daily intrigue. The Dutch win Tuesday saw in center field -- where he's never played in the Majors -- along with , a natural shortstop, at third. Didi Gregorius was the designated hitter, while starred at short alongside second baseman .

• Once a top pitcher in the big leagues, Jurrjens, 31, went 47-32 with a 3.34 ERA for Atlanta from 2008-11, thanks in large part to an elite ground-ball rate. He most recently pitched professionally in the Rockies' Minor League system in '15.

• Western fans may not recognize many on Chinese Taipei's roster, but the team is full of stars from the Chinese Professional League. Outfielder Kuo-Hui Kao and infielder Chih-Sheng Lin are two of the country's best power hitters, while infielder hit .402 with an OBP north of .500 in 2016.

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.