There are just two more WBC pool play games on tap tonight and they’re both huge. Tonight’s matchup between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which is starting now on FS1, is a win-or-go-home game for both teams. Reds pitcher Fernando Cruz will pitch for Puerto Rico and Johnny Cueto starts for the Dominican Republic.
The United States can qualify for the next round with a win over Colombia tonight at 9pm Central on FS1. Should Colombia win, there will be a three-way tie for second place in the group between USA, Colombia and Canada and we’ll go to the tiebreakers on that one. (I believe those tiebreakers favor Team USA as long as Colombia doesn’t blow them out this evening.) Merrill Kelly starts for Team USA while Royals prospect Luis De Avila goes for Colombia.
WBC Tonight is your daily look at the games from the World Baseball Classic from the previous 24 hours and a look ahead to the next day’s action. You can also use this space as a game thread for any of the WBC action as it happens
Cuba punched the first ticket to the semifinals in Miami with a 4-3 win over Australia.
The score was tied 1-1 in this game until the bottom of the fifth inning when Cuba scored three runs on an Alfredo Despaigne sac fly and a two-run single by Yoelkis Gilbert.
Australia would cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Phillies minor leaguer Rixon Wingate hit a two-run home run off the Cubs’ Roenis Elías.
Yoán Moncada was 2 for 2 with a double and two walks.
Tomorrow morning at 5am Central time, Japan will face Italy for the second spot in the semis. Shohei Ohtani will start for Samurai Japan and A’s pitcher Ryan Castellani throws for Italy.
Group C—Phoenix, Arizona
Mexico clinched first place in Group C with a 10-3 win over Canada this afternoon.
Mexico took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when the Brewers’ Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run single off of former Cub Rob Zastryzny.
Canada would score one run in the bottom of the first on an Otto Lopez single. But Mexico would push the lead back to 3-1 in the top of the second on this double by Randy Arozarena.
Guardian Bo Naylor got that run back in the bottom of the fourth inning with this solo blast for Canada.
But Mexico blew the game open with a four-run seventh inning, highlighted by this three-run double by Arozarena.
Arozarena would get a fifth RBI in the eighth inning when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. The five RBI in one game is the third-most in WBC history.
Last night, Mexico eliminated Great Britain from contention with a 2-1 win. Great Britain finishes the group 1-3 but will still qualify for the 2026 WBC if Team USA beats Colombia tonight.
Great Britain could do nothing against Taijuan Walker, who struck out eight, walked one and allowed just one hit over four innings. Meanwhile, Mexico took the lead in the second on an infield single by former Cardinals farmhand Alexis Wilson.
But Britain was able to tie the game back up in the seventh after Cubs minor leaguer BJ Murray Jr. beat the throw for an infield single.
But Wilson gave the lead back to Mexico with an another RBI single for Wilson in the bottom of the seventh.
Great Britain finishes pool play 1-3, but they will still finish fourth in the group and automatically qualify for the 2026 WBC should Team USA beat Colombia this evening.
Group D—Miami, Florida
Venezuela finished group 4-0 with a 5-1 win over Israel this afternoon. Venezuela plated three runs in the first inning off former Cubs’ pitcher Robert Stock. Ronald Acuña Jr. had an RBI single and Eugenio Suárez drove home two more with a single of his own.
Venezuela’s tacked on insurance runs with solo home runs by Eduardo Escobar in the fourth inning and one by Suárez in the sixth.
Israel did break out of their hitting funk (see below) with nine hits, but all of them were singles. Israel did score their first run in 21 innings when Jacob Goldfarb singled home Noah Mendlinger in the seventh.
Earlier in the tournament, Israel failed to get a baserunner in their loss to Puerto Rico and last night they did not do much better against the Dominican Republic. Four Dominican pitchers, Roansy Contreras, Génesis Cabrera, Luis Ortiz and Héctor Neris combined to throw a one-hitter in a 10-0 win over Israel that ended after seven innings thanks to the mercy rule.
Manny Machado homered for the Dominican Republic.
The fourth-inning single by Spencer Horwitz off of Contreras was Israel’s only baserunner over two games.
So Venezuela wins Pool D with a 4-0 record. Nicaragua finished last and will have to qualify for the 2026 WBC. Israel’s win over Nicaragua won them an automatic spot in the next tournament.
So that sets up tonight’s win-or-go-home battle of the titans between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The winner will advance to the semis and the loser is done for the tournament. The game starts at 6pm Central time and is broadcast on FS1.