European baseball · World Baseball Classic

WBC Qualifier 3: France stuns Spain to stay alive

FRA   France   5  –  3   Spain   SPA

In the day game, the French team did the unexpected. The team cruised to a 5-3 victory to send the Spaniards home and to stay alive in the tournament.

Already in the first inning the French lineup did not show any mercy for the Spanish pitching staff as singles by Felix Brown, Frederic Hanvi, Andy Paz, Ernesto Martinez and Douglas Rodriguez drove in three runs.

In the third inning the team that is under the helm of Eric Gagné, extended their score.
Frederic Hanvi led off with a fly ball double to left field. Andy Paz drew a walk but during his at bat, Spanish catcher Blake Ochoa, let a ball pass so Hanvi could advance to third. With runners on the corners, Paz stole second to put two runners in scoring position for the French national team. Henvi and Paz scored on Ernesto Martinez’ line drive to center field to give France a 5-0 lead.

It took Spain until the fifth inning before they did something back. With two outs and the panamabases loaded, Luis Guillorme drew a walk to walk in the first run for Spain.
In the next inning, Spain would score another run in an identical situation: two outs, bases loaded and a walk drawn by Iker Franco.

In the bottom of the eighth, Spain had another bases loaded situation with two outs but this time the runner on third crossed home plate on a passed ball by Andy Paz.

But this was the closest that Spain could come.

Winning pitcher was Leonel Cespedes, who went 4.2 innings in which he gave up five hits and one unearned run. Cespedes fanned two. Ié

Richard Salazar took the loss after the French jumped on him in the first inning in which he allowed three runs on five hits.

Best hitter for France was Douglas Rodriguez, who went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Most impact though had Ernesto Martinez. The French catcher hit 2 for 4 with three runs batted in.

France will face the loser of the game between Panama and Colombia. Spain is eliminated after two losses. Quite a surprise as far as I am concerned.

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