Triston Casas carries Team USA into semis

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6:37 AM UTC

After dropping a heartbreaker to Japan in the second round of the Olympic tournament, Team USA’s quest for their second gold medal got back on track with a 3-1 win over the Dominican Republic in the repechage game that sent them through to the semifinals.

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas got the Americans going early with a big two-run blast in the first inning, his third home run of the tournament. The 21-year-old first baseman now leads all players in Tokyo with eight RBIs and is tied with Israel’s Danny Valencia for the most homers.

Tyler Austin added an insurance run in the fifth inning, smacking a solo homer off Gabriel Arias. All the U.S. needed was Casas’ homer to advance, though, as Scott Kazmir turned in a terrific start, while Brandon Dickson, Scott McGough, Anthony Gose and David Robertson combined to allow just one run out of the bullpen.

Kazmir had to tip toe around danger in the first after a double, an error and a walk led to a bases-loaded situation with one out in the inning, but the 13-year MLB vet buckled down and kept the Dominicans off the board. From there, it was smooth sailing for Kazmir, as he retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced. He ended the day with five scoreless innings and five strikeouts under his belt, allowing just two hits.

Robertson closed out the ninth, though he hit some turbulence on the way, giving up a solo homer to Charlie Valerio and walking Jeison Guzman with two outs. He quickly bounced back to strike out Yefri Perez swinging to end the game and earn the save.

Denyi Reyes was solid for the Dominicans as well, allowing just two hits across four innings in his start. Unfortunately for Reyes, his lone flaw turned out to be a big one in the Casas homer.

The U.S. will face off against the loser of the first semifinal game between South Korea and Japan, who play at 6 a.m. ET Wednesday. A win there would put them through to the gold medal game on Saturday.

As for the Dominican Republic, they will battle the loser of the second semifinal game for the bronze medal at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.

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