Published April 28, 2016
SYDNEY (AP) Australia scored three first-inning runs on five hits - including four consecutive hits to start the game - and defeated South Africa 4-1 on Friday to advance to the final of the World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament.
Four pitchers limited South Africa to six hits to lead the host team to the final on Sunday against South Africa or New Zealand.
The winner of the final advances to the 16-team World Baseball Classic next year.
South Africa and New Zealand meet on Saturday.
Earlier Friday, 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 lead a 17-7 comeback win over the Philippines.
''This was basically our last chance,'' Moanaroa said. ''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 haka, was praised by manager Chris Woodward.
''He's our best hitter. He is our most powerful hitter,'' Woodward said. ''He just has a presence about him that makes our whole lineup work.''
The Philippines led 7-4 in the sixth inning. Leadoff hitter Eric Farris, who played for the Minnesota Twins' Triple-A affiliate for the past two seasons, had four hits, including two doubles. He was 5 for 7 in two games.