It turns out the Wisconsin Badgers knocking off #1 Villanova wasn't the only big upset in the sports world on Saturday night. Team USA defeated the defending champion Dominican Republic, securing the final spot in the World Baseball Classic semifinals with a 6-3 win. It's just the second time in the history of the tournament that the Americans have made it to the final four.
Things didn't look good early for Team USA, as the Dominican Republic jumped out to an early 2-0 lead off of Danny Duffy in the first inning.
Luckily, the Dominicans were starting Ervin Santana. Team USA was able to draw even in the top of the third inning following an RBI groundout from Ian Kinsler and an RBI double by Christian Yelich.
In the top of the fourth, Giancarlo Stanton performed murder on a baseball and damaged the structural integrity of the historic Western Metal Supply Building to give the United States a two-run lead.
What a ball game we have in San Diego!— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 19, 2017
Watch vs. now on MLB Network. #WBC2017 pic.twitter.com/taWK2Qpe0q
That margin held until the 7th, and the Dominicans nearly got one back off the bat of Manny Machado, but Adam Jones made sure that didn't happen.
The Dominican Republic could have had 2 homers in the 7th, if it wasn't for hometown hero @SimplyAJ10! #UnitedWeGrind pic.twitter.com/GAGffpEqgk— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 19, 2017
Robinson Cano would make sure to hit it to a spot where Jones couldn't get to it later in the inning, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Andrew McCutchen would come through with some BMIRs in the 8th inning, though, putting the game out of reach with a 2-RBI double into the gap.
Insurance. Courtesy of @TheCUTCH22. #WBC2017 #ForGlory pic.twitter.com/MwZurkjAGP— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 19, 2017
Luke Gregerson would come on in the 9th inning and nail down the save for Team USA, who will now join Puerto Rico, the Netherlands and Japan in Los Angeles for the championship round.
With the Dominican Republic and Venezuela both knocked out of the tournament, the Brewers will be getting both Hernan Perez and Jonathan Villar back this week. Villar pinch-hit for Wellington Castillo in the 9th inning for the Dominicans on Saturday night, but grounded out. Perez went 0-for-3 playing first base for Venezuela in their 13-2 loss to Puerto Rico Saturday afternoon.
Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m. CDT Monday
United States vs. Japan, 8 p.m. CDT Tuesday
It doesn't get any easier for Team USA, as they'll have to take on two-time champion (and undefeated in this year's tournament) Japan in their semi-final matchup. The winners of the two semifinals will face off for the title Wednesday night.
Whether or not they can pull off another upset win, this entire tournament has been a blast to watch, and hopefully the excitement convinces the league to continue running it in the future.