By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Israel won their first game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, beating Nicaragua 3-1 after burning to New York Yankees closer Jonathan Loaisiga for three runs during the late innings of Sunday’s action.
Israel starting pitcher Dean Kreamer opened their first game, going four innings and giving up just three hits, no earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out four, leaving the mound after just 49 pitches. Israel’s pitching staff combined to allow four hits, one earned run, two walks, and 12 strikeouts.
Nicaragua manager Sandor Guido penciled in Ronald Medrano as his starting pitcher for the second game of the World Baseball Classic. Medrano displayed his role as an opener during today’s action as he went two innings, walking two batters, no earned runs, and striking out three during his performance.
In the top of the fifth inning, Nicaragua got on the board first when Steven Leyton drove a line drive double and, attempting to make it to third base as Mervis received the cut off from left fielder Noah Mendlinger, Mervis cut down Leyton at third for the final out of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Israel threatened once again to get on the board when Alex Dickerson smacked a ground ball to right field leading off the inning. A few batters later, Spencer Horwitz drew a hit by pitch and attempt to crack the score board for the first time of the game. The next batter, Mendlinger drew a hit by pitch as well to position Israel with bases loaded and one out.
Guido went to the bullpen replacing Osman Gutierrez as Carlos Teller came in to pitch and hoped to stop the bleeding for the Israel offense. Pinch hitter Danny Valencia came to the plate replacing third basemen Ty Kelly looking to help Israel put their first run on the board. Valencia sat back on the pitch and grounded in to a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
During the bottom of the eighth inning, Nicaragua called upon Loaisiga to shut the door on a six-out save, but Israel finally get on the scoreboard as Spencer Horwitz singled on a line drive to left field as Jakob Goldfarb came in to score the tying run. Horwitz advanced to second base on the over throw to home plate from left fielder Isaac Bernard during his base hit. A few batters later, Stubbs came to the plate looking to capture Israel’s first lead of the game as he roped a ground-rule double to left center scoring Horwitz and Mendlinger to go up 3-1.
In the top of the ninth inning, Robert Stock shut the door for Israel, as he retired to the side in order 1-2-3 and getting Elian Miranda to strike out to end the game.
Now 1-0, Israel could make an interesting run during the 2023 World Baseball Classic, but will have to bear down against three the top countries of the baseball world, with games against the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela looming ahead.
Israel will play Puerto Rico on Monday at 7 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Nicaragua dropped to 0-2 and will play 0-1 Dominican Republic on Monday at 12 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 2.