PANAMA — Tim Lopes led the offense and Brazil put together a six-run seventh-inning rally to cruise to a 12-7 win over New Zealand on Friday, kicking off a 2023 World Baseball Classic qualifying tournament.
Brazil, which surprised Panama in 2012 by advancing to its first Clásico of 2013 by eliminating the hosts, scored four runs in the bottom of the first episode and two in the fourth. New Zealand made four in the top of the eighth that brought the Oceania team closer to the board.
Lopes went 2-for-4, with three runs scored and two RBIs for Brazil. For New Zealand, Max Brown 4-2, one run scored and three RBIs. Gabriel Barbosa (1-0) scored the win, while Ben Thompson (0-1) took the loss. In the evening, Argentina faced Pakistan.
Brazil, as the winner of the first game, will play on Saturday against Nicaragua. The winner of the duel between Argentina and Pakistan will be measured on the same day against Panama. The tournament runs until Wednesday and grants the last two tickets to the Clásico. Great Britain and the Czech Republic advanced in a recent tie in Germany.
Here is the full schedule for the qualifiers (schedules are subject to change):
Location: Panama City, Panama
Stadium: Rod Carew National Stadium
Countries: Panama, Nicaragua, Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan, New Zealand
Game 1: New Zealand vs. Brazil, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Pakistan vs. Argentina, 8 p.m.
Game 3: Winner of Game 1 vs. Nicaragua, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Winner of Game 2 vs. Panama, 8 p.m.
Game 5: Loser of Game 2 vs. Loser of Game 3, 1 p.m.
Game 6: Loser of Game 1 vs. Game 4 Loser, 8 p.m.
Game 7: Winner of Game 5 vs. Game 6 winner, 1 p.m.
Game 8: Winner of Game 3 vs. Game 4 Winner, 8 p.m.
Game 9: Winner of Game 7 vs. Game 8 Loser, 8 p.m.
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Brazil beats New Zealand in World Baseball Classic qualifier