Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's national baseball team on Tuesday won its Premier12 baseball championship opener in Taichung, defeating visiting Puerto Rico 6-1 in the two teams' Group B debut.
The victory was largely down to the performance of starting pitcher Chiang Shao-ching (江少慶). The right-hander who plays for the Columbus Clippers in the U.S. Minor League made 93 pitches in six inning, giving up one run on three hits while striking out five in the game played at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.
Source: WBSC YouTube channel
A two-run homerun by Lin Li (林立) gave Team Taiwan, competing under the name Chinese Taipei, a two-nothing lead in the bottom of the opening inning.
In took four innings before Puerto Rico rallied, closing the gap to 2-1 on two hits in the top of the fifth.
Taiwan promptly replied with a three-run fifth inning on two hits, an error and a sacrifice fly to widen the gap to 5-1 before adding another run in the sixth to give the home team a comfortable 6-1 lead, which it held until the end of the game.
The home team faces Venezuela Wednesday at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium.
In other Group B action Tuesday, Japan beat Venezuela 8-4 in Taoyuan.
Sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), the 2019 edition of the Premier12 features the top 12 teams in the WBSC's 2018 year-end world rankings.
With baseball returning to the Summer Olympics for the first time since 2008, the quadrennial Premier12, first launched in 2015, has added importance this year as a Tokyo Olympic qualifying event.
The top two finishers in each of the three groups will advance to the final six-team Super Round to be held in Japan.
Taiwan will have to advance to the final six-team Super Round and finish above South Korea and Australia in the tournament, to secure a berth to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics.