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Olympics: USA beats South Korea, advances to baseball gold medal game

Olympics: USA beats South Korea, advances to baseball gold medal game
Team USA left-fielder Jamie Westbrook recorded two hits, drove in one run and scored in a win over South Korea on Thursday in Yokohama, Japan. Photo courtesy of WBSC

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Team USA used a five-run sixth inning to propel a 7-2 victory over South Korea on Thursday and advance to the 2020 Summer Games gold medal game in baseball in Yokohama, Japan.

Starter Joe Ryan, the Minnesota Twins' No. 8 prospect, allowed four hits and one run over 4 1/3 innings in the win.

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Team USA center-fielder Jack Lopez and designed hitter Tyler Austin drove in two runs apiece. Left-fielder Jamie Westbrook homered for the Americans.

The Americans battle Japan in the gold medal game Saturday. South Korea won the gold medal in 2008, the last time baseball was a sport at the Games. Team USA beat Japan in the 2008 bronze medal game.

Lopez gave the Americans an early lead Thursday with an RBI single in the bottom of the second. Westbrook pushed Team USA's lead to 2-0 with his solo homer in the fourth.

South Korea center-fielder Park Hae-min cut into the deficit with an RBI single in the fifth, but Team USA responded with its sixth-inning barrage.

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Team USA third baseman Todd Frazier started the frame with a 12-pitch walk. Westbrook reached base with a single two at-bats later. Catcher Mark Kolozsvary plated Frazier with a single in the next at-bat. Shortstop Nick Allen followed with another walk, which loaded the bases.

Lopez then brought in Westbrook with an RBI single to left field. Second baseman Eddy Alvarez followed with an RBI groundout. Austin gave the Americans a 7-1 lead with a two-run single in the next at-bat.

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South Korea shortstop Oh Ji-hwan responded with an RBI double in the top of the seventh to make the score 7-2. Neither team scored for the rest of the game.

Team USA looks to avenge its quarterfinal loss to Japan in the gold medal game, which airs on delay at 6 a.m. EDT Saturday on NBCOlympics.com.

South Korea will play the Dominican Republic in the bronze medal game

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Greece's Paraskevi Papachristou competes during the triple jump qualifier on July 30. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

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