(ATTN: ADDS details in paras 5-12)
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.
In that case, South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic would have finished at 2-2. In a tiebreaking situation based on runs allowed divided by defensive outs in games between the tied teams, South Korea would have come out on top.
Australia broke the 1-1 deadlock with two outs in the top of the seventh, thanks to Logan Wade's two-run double off the top of the right field fence.
Alex Hall's solo shot in the top first had given Australia a 1-0 lead, and the Czech Republic tied it up with Eric Sogard's RBI single in the third.
After Hall's homer, Australia was held hitless until the seventh-inning breakthrough.
Australia padded its lead in the three-run eighth inning, with Hall plating two with a triple and Glendinning adding an RBI single.
The Czech Republic made things more interesting in the bottom eighth, as Marek Chlup's two-out, two-run single cut the deficit to 6-3.
Australia promptly got two runs back in the top ninth, thanks to Tim Kennelly's bloop single and Hall's groundout.
Down 8-3, the Czech Republic loaded the bases with one out in the bottom ninth, with a tying run on deck. But Jakub Kubica grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end both the Czech Republic's and South Korea's tournament.
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.