SYDNEY (AP) New Zealand first baseman Boss Moanaroa, a former Boston Red Sox prospect, went 4 for 5 and had seven RBIs, including a three-run homer in a six-run sixth inning, to spark a 17-7 comeback win over the Philippines in a World Baseball Classic qualifier on Friday.
The game, which ended in the bottom of the eighth inning due to the tournament's 10-run mercy rule, will see New Zealand advance to a game Saturday against the loser of the later qualifier between Australia and South Africa, who each won their openers.
''This was basically our last chance,'' said Moanaroa. ''We said in the changing room ... `let's enjoy it and have fun.' And that's what we did.''
Moanaroa, who led the team in a pre-game Maori haka, was praised by New Zealand manager Chris Woodward.
''The presence of him in the lineup is everything for us,'' Woodward said. ''He's our best hitter. He is our most powerful hitter. He just has a presence about him that makes our whole lineup work.''
The Philippines, who led 7-4 after the top of the sixth inning, were eliminated.
Leadoff hitter Eric Farris, who played for the Minnesota Twins' Triple-A affiliate for the past two seasons, had four hits, including two doubles, for the Philippines. He was 5-for-7 in two games.
The winner of the Australia-South Africa game will advance straight to Sunday's tournament final and play for a spot in next year's 16-team World Baseball Classic.
On Thursday, Australia beat the Philippines 11-1 and South Africa defeated New Zealand 7-1.
The Sydney tournament is the first of four WBC qualifiers. Others will be held from March 17-20 in Mexicali, Mexico (Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico and Nicaragua), and Panama City, Panama (Colombia, France, Panama and Spain); and from Sept. 22-25 in Brooklyn, New York (Brazil, Britain, Israel and Pakistan).
Qualifiers will join Canada, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Venezuela in next year's tournament. It is expected to be held in March 2017 although a host country or countries have not been announced.
The Dominican Republic won the 2013 title, beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in San Francisco.