Australia continued their unbeaten start to the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Under-23 Baseball World Cup to move to the brink of the super round in Monterrey.
Victories over Austria and Nicaragua had seen the Australian team move to the top of the Group B standings, but they were forced to come through a tightly contested match with Chinese Taipei to maintain their position.
Their triumph was aided by accomplishing a rare triple-play, when they were able to remove Lin Tzu We, Chiang Po Hao and Yueh Tung Hua at the bottom of the fifth inning.
It proved enough for Australia to defeat their rivals at the Estadio Francisco I. Madero in Saltillo, as they recorded an 8-7 win.
World number one ranked Japan continue to maintain pace with the Australians after they defeated Argentina 10-2.
The result saw the two unbeaten teams pull further away from the rest of the group, with the concluding match of the opening round between Australia and Japan looking set to decide who tops the standings on Tuesday (November 1).
Argentina’s loss leaves them tied with Chinese Taipei and Nicaragua for the third qualifying spot for the super round, the latter earning their first victory of the tournament by overcoming Austria 15-0.
Top spot in Group A looks destined to be a battle between Panama and South Korea after both nations earned their third wins.
Panama overcame Venezuela 11-3, while South Korea handed host nation Mexico a 6-1 defeat in their meeting.
The results left Mexico and Venezuela tied for third place, with both teams also level with the Czech Republic following the European nation’s 12-4 triumph over winless South Africa.
Tomorrow’s penultimate fixtures in the opening round are expected to prove crucial to deciding which three teams from each group will advance to the next stage.