Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Once on the ropes, Venezuela now riding high

Round 2 matchup with USA set for 9 p.m. ET Wednesday
March 14, 2017

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Viva Venezuela!In a week that saw the country lose by mercy rule and come extremely close to being eliminated from Pool D play, Team Venezuela isn't just alive, it's on a roll.:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::Venezuela rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Viva Venezuela!
In a week that saw the country lose by mercy rule and come extremely close to being eliminated from Pool D play, Team Venezuela isn't just alive, it's on a roll.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Venezuela rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against Italy for the 4-3 victory in the tiebreaker game at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco to secure a spot in San Diego for Pool F play in Round 2.
Venezuela will play the United States on Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET at Petco Park. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will play tonight at 9 p.m. ET in the first game of Pool F.
"The team never dies," Venezuela manager Omar Vizquel said. "We keep fighting until the end, and Italy was a great team. They've been fighting the whole time, and it was a great ballgame. [Our] guys did a great job pitching the game, and everybody stayed together, so I'm really proud how the team played today."

Venezuela lost its first game of the tournament, 11-0, to Puerto Rico in seven innings because of the mercy rule. The offensive slump bled into the next game against Italy on Saturday, and at one point, the club was outscored, 16-0, in their first 11 innings of Pool D play.
But resilient Venezuela recovered to defeat Italy, 11-10, in 10 innings. An 11-9 loss to Mexico on Sunday night had many players thinking they were eliminated because they shared an identical 1-2 record with Mexico and Italy.
They were wrong. Venezuela had survived again.
Due to tiebreaker rules, Venezuela and Italy advanced to Monday's game. Mexico was eliminated.
"I remember when I played in Game 7 of the World Series in 1997. That night before the game it was really stressful, and I hadn't felt that way until last night," Vizquel said. "Today we showed up at the ballpark and we're getting shut out in the first six innings. It's just a weird feeling. You know, I've had butterflies all over my body every day, and we finally came up with a win."

Vizquel said he expects better play from his club in Round 2.
"It has been a beautiful experience to be with the biggest players from Venezuela," Vizquel said. "I have been satisfied, proud. It gives me a lot of pleasure to share with them, with everything they were successful at, and obviously, we can play a lot better than we have so far."
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 Tokyo Dome and 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.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for for MLB.com.