The U.S. baseball team will have a chance at a gold medal and revenge after defeating South Korea in the semifinal.
Japan (4-0), the only team to defeat Team USA (4-1), awaits in the gold medal game after the U.S. handled South Korea 7-2.
The bottom of the order led the U.S. to victory in the semifinal, as the final four hitters in the lineup went 5 for 14 with four RBIs.
Team USA jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on Jack Lopez’s RBI single, his first hit of the Olympics. The Americans added a second run in the fourth when Jamie Westbrook blasted a solo shot over the foul pole in left field.
South Korea got a run back in the fifth when Park Hae-min singled to left, which forced U.S. starter Joe Ryan out of the game after 4.1 innings pitched. Ryan allowed four hits and struck out three, throwing 74 pitches.
The Americans scored five runs in the sixth inning to put the game out of reach. The bottom of the order sparked the rally again, as Mark Kolozsvary and Lopez each drove in a run on a pair of singles to left. Leadoff hitter Eddy Alvarez made it 5-1 on a bases-loaded ground out to first, and Tyler Austin put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-out, two-run bloop single to center. It took five South Korean pitchers to get through the disastrous inning.
South Korea fought back in the seventh, scoring one and putting two runners on with just one out. USA manager Mike Scioscia then made a pitching change, and reliever Anthony Gose struck out the next two batters to escape the jam.
The game remained 7-2 over the final two innings, and South Korea never threatened. It went down in order in both the eighth and ninth inning.
Ryder Ryan picked up the win for the U.S. and Lee Eui-lee was dealt the loss for South Korea.
The gold medal game between Team USA and Japan is set for Saturday, Aug. 7, at 6 a.m. ET. South Korea will play Dominican Republic for the bronze medal on Friday, Aug. 6, at 11 p.m. ET.
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