Mike Trout of Team USA hits a two-run single in the fifth inning during Game 10 of Pool C between Team USA and Team Colombia at Chase Field on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/WBCI/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Team USA’s best player Mike Trout came to play with three hits and three RBI and the United States beat Colombia 3-2 and secured a trip to the quarterfinals with a second-place finish in Pool C in the World Baseball Classic in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trout started his game off with a triple in the first, but was stranded on third after Nolan Arenado grounded into a double play.
Mike Trout gave the US their first run in the third when he hit an opposite-field single to a vacant infield to make it 1-0 USA. If he was experiencing any spring training struggles, they didn’t show.
“We’ve been grinding. We’ve been grinding,” Trout said after the game. “Sometimes early in camp you don’t have your timing. And then you put the work in in the cages and during BP just to try to find it. And that’s what we’ve been doing. And the timing’s been good the last couple of games.”
Merril Kelly was right at home starting the game on the mound for Team USA at Chase Field, his home ballpark with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kelly got out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, but he was struggling to find his best stuff. In the third, Colombia caught up to him and burned him two runs.
Oscar Mercado hit a lead-off double and Gio Urshela hit a sacrifice fly for Colombia’s first run. Jorge Alfaro hit a slow ground ball to shortstop Trea Turner that was booted. Tuner could’ve had an out, but it was still called a hit. Reynaldo Rodriguez continued his hot WBC with an RBI double that was nearly a home run. It was Rodriguez’s fifth RBI of the tournament and Colombia had a 2-1 lead.
Kendall Graveman relieved Kelly in the fourth and had a scoreless inning that included a strikeout and picking off Dayan Frias at first base.
The USA bats woke up in the fifth when Mike Trout delivered with a two-RBI single to give the US a 3-2 lead.
The score remained 3-2 in the eighth when Colombia’s relief pitcher Guillermo Zuñiga continued to impress, lighting up the radar gun at over 100 nph. Zuñiga is a Double-A pitcher in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He struck out Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and pitched a scoreless inning.
Team USA’s bats stayed quiet, but their bullpen was up to the task pitching six shutout innings. Ryan Pressly saved the game in the ninth with the help of a great play by third baseman Nolan Arenado, who robbed Jorge Alfaro of a hit.
Team USA will advance to the quarterfinals to play Venezuela who was the winner of Pool D. This game will take place in Miami Florida’s Loan Depot Park on March 17 at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. Colombia finished last in Pool C and will have to qualify for the 2026 WBC.