By Yoo Jee-ho
TOKYO, March 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea was eliminated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) for the third consecutive time Monday, even before playing its final game of the opening stage in Tokyo.
South Korea's fate was sealed following Australia's 8-3 win over the Czech Republic in Pool B action at Tokyo Dome.
Japan had clinched first place in Pool B with a perfect 4-0 record Sunday night. Australia, at 3-1, will join Japan in the quarterfinals.
To reach the final eight on a tiebreaker, South Korea needed the Czech Republic to beat Australia while allowing at least four runs and then had to beat China in Monday's nightcap at the dome.
The Czech Republic fell behind 6-1 through seven innings, and their late rally came up short.
South Korea has little left to play for in the evening game. With a win, South Korea will finish in third place at 2-2 and avoid having to qualify for the next WBC in 2026.
South Korea opened the competition with an 8-7 loss to Australia last Thursday. The next night, South Korea suffered a 13-4 loss to Japan, blowing a 3-0 lead amid a bullpen meltdown.
South Korea bounced back with a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic on Sunday, but it wasn't nearly enough to secure a trip to the quarters.