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Puerto Rico, Venezuela try for semifinal spot in WBC

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Puerto Rico hopes to keep its perfect record intact and punch the first ticket to the World Baseball Classic semifinals when it continues Pool 2 play against Venezuela this evening at Dolphin Stadium.

After winning all three of its Pool D contests, Puerto Rico cruised past the United States to open Pool 2 play on Saturday, as Carlos Beltran went 3-for-3 with a home run in an 11-1 seven-inning mercy rule win.

Beltran scored three times and drove in two runs, while Ivan Rodriguez went 3- for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Carlos Delgado added two RBI, while Javier Vazquez allowed one run on four hits in five strong innings to earn the win.

Pittsburgh Pirates righty Ian Snell will toe the rubber for Jose Oquendo's club tonight. Oquendo is hoping for at least 75 pitches from Snell, who gave up a run and three hits in four innings of his first WBC start against the Netherlands.

Venezuela, meanwhile, won for the fourth time in five tries in this tournament on Saturday, as Carlos Silva pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Cabrera snapped a fourth-inning tie with a homer, leading it to a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands.

Venezuela finished first in Pool C to reach the second round after beating the United States on Wednesday.

Tonight's winner will advance to the semifinals next weekend in Los Angeles, while the loser will play an elimination game against the U.S. on Tuesday with a chance to join the winner at Dodger Stadium.

03/16 10:25:49 ET


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