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Friday's action did not lack for drama with the United States winning a 10-inning nail-biter, walking off against Colombia in its Classic opener. It was just the third walk-off victory for Team USA in the tournament's history. Friday's other matchups were more lopsided, but still offered plenty of thrills as Japan swept its Pool B competition with a 7-1 win over China, while the Puerto Rico shutout Venezuela, 11-0, in seven innings.
Four more Classic games are on tap for Saturday. Fans can catch all the action, as well as the day's 17 Cactus and Grapefruit League exhibitions, streaming live on MLB.TV.
MLB.TV Premium is only $112.99 for the entire season. In addition to getting every out-of-market game live or on demand during the regular season, you can watch nearly 300 Spring Training games live and blackout free, plus the World Baseball Classic live (U.S. only). This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- at 60 frames per second -- for supported devices, while other great features include choice of home or away broadcasts, live game DVR, multi-game viewing and more. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now underway as well for $24.99, and the MLB.TV Single Team package is also available as a $87.49 yearly subscription.
USA @ Dominican Republic, 6:30 p.m. ET, MLB Network and MLB.TVTwo of the most star-studded Classic squads will meet head-to-head for the first time in this year's tournament before a sold out crowd at Marlins Park. Both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic won their opening matchups, defeating Colombia and Canada, respectively.
The Blue Jays' Marcus Stroman will toe the rubber for the U.S. opposite the Dominican Republic's Edinson Volquez, who will get a taste of his new home ballpark after signing with the Marlins this winter.
The Dominican Republic enters Saturday with a 15-4 all-time record in the Classic, including a nine-game winning streak. The U.S., meanwhile, has never finished higher than fourth in the tournament.
"We know what's at stake," Stroman said.
Venezuela @ Italy, 3 p.m. ET, MLB Network and MLB.TVFresh off one of the most dramatic moments of the tournament to date, Italy resumes play against Venezuela. Team Italy upset the host team Mexico with a ninth-inning comeback Thursday, and will look to carry that momentum into Saturday.
Venezuela finds itself in a must-win scenario after it was shutout by Puerto Rico in a mercy-rule shortened contest.
"We have a very hard game ahead of us," Vizquel said. "You know that you have it difficult when tomorrow is do or die. We have to do everything and win that game either way."
Puerto Rico @ Mexico, 9:30 p.m. ET, MLB Network and MLB.TVPuerto Rico and Mexico, two teams that find themselves in different standing in Pool D, will meet in Jalisco, Mexico. Puerto Rico impressed Friday, shutting out Venezuela in an 11-0 victory. A win Saturday would likely put the team in position to advance.
Mexico is in a slightly more desperate spot, in need of a win after suffering a stunning defeat Thursday. Italy completed a five-run, ninth inning comeback over Mexico in the Pool D opener.
The White Sox's Miguel Gonzalez, who was born not far from Estadio Charros de Jalisco, is scheduled to start for Mexico. The right-hander posted a 3.73 ERA through 24 games (23 starts) in his first season with Chicago last year.
Colombia @ Canada, 12 p.m. ET, MLB Network and MLB.TVColombia and Canada kick off Saturday's Classic slate with an afternoon matchup, a must-win for both squads after each country lost its openers. Canada couldn't keep pace with the Dominican's hot bats on Thursday, losing 9-2, while Colombia suffered a narrow 10-inning defeat against the U.S. on Friday. It's a quick turnaround for Colombia, which played Friday night while Canada had the day off.
Phillies No. 12 prospect Nick Pivetta will start for Canada. The 24-year-old righty went 12-8 with a 3.27 ERA through 27 starts with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2016.
Cuba @ Isreal, 10 p.m. ET, MLB.TVThe second round begins Saturday night in Tokyo with a matchup between Pool E foes Israel and Cuba. Israel has been among the biggest surprises of the tournament, going unbeaten in Pool A to advance in its very first Classic appearance. The underdog Israeli squad must now contend with a tournament veteran in Cuba, which has now advanced out of pool play in all four Classics.
Cuba is eyeing its second trip to the semifinals, which begin March 20 at Dodger Stadium, something the island nation hasn't accomplished since the inaugural tournament in 2006.
"We're trying to go for Los Angeles," Cuba manager Carlos Marti said. "That's our next goal."Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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