Israel suffered a painful loss against South Korea in Olympic baseball on Thursday, but it was a little painful for two Korean players as well.
Israel’s pitcher Jeremy Bleich hit two consecutive batters, the second with the bases loaded, to drive home the winning run, giving South Korea a 6-5 win in 10 innings.
Unlike the new Major League Baseball rule that puts a runner on second base in extra innings, Olympic baseball rules allow for a runner on first and second in extra frames.
After Korea’s Jaegyun Hwang sacrificed the designated runners to second and third, Bleich, who appeared in two games with the Oakland A’s in 2018, got Ji Hwan Oh to pop to third base, holding the runners.
But Bleich hit Kyoungmin Hur to load the bases and then plunked Euiji Yang to give Korea the win.
It was a difficult loss for Israel, which was playing in the nation’s first Olympic baseball game and facing a medal favorite and baseball powerhouse in South Korea.
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The Israel team blew two two-run leads and trailed 5-4 in the ninth when catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit a one-out home run to tie the game. Lavarnway also hit a two-run homer in the sixth. Former Major Leaguer Ian Kinsler also homered for Israel.
Oh led Korea with three hits, including a home run, and three RBI.
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