Beltre, Nieto join in on Spain romp

Rangers outfielder drives in run, Nats catcher scores twice

By Staff | September 22, 2012 6:49 PM ET

In Spain's rout of South Africa on Saturday, just about everyone got in on the action.

Rangers prospect Engel Beltre went 1-for-3 with three walks, an RBI and a run scored out of the leadoff spot and the Nationals' Adrian Nieto finished 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in a 13-3 victory.

The loss eliminated the South Africans from World Baseball Classic qualifying. Spain will face Israel on Sunday in the qualifying round final, with a spot in the 16-team WBC field on the line.

"These guys all put a team together and it was to win it," Nieto told on-site reporter Adam Berry. "Getting to the finals definitely wouldn't be enough. Our goal here is to win it."

Beltre, a 22-year-old outfielder who hit .261 with 13 homers and 55 RBIs for Double-A Frisco this season, drew a bases-loaded walk as part of a four-run second inning. He also scored in the ninth.

In three WBC qualifying games, Beltre is 4-for-11 (.364) with two RBIs, two runs scored and three walks.

Nieto, a 22-year-old from Cuba, batted .257 with six homers, 39 RBIs and a .346 on-base percentage in 70 games for Class A Hagerstown before joining Spain for the WBC. He scored on Yasser Gomez's single in the third and again in the eighth on another base hit by Gomez. His fourth-inning double plated Yunesky Sanchez.

Nieto is 4-for-10 (.400) with an RBI, two runs scored and three walks in three WBC games.

The catching prospect said he felt Spain was prepared to battle Israel on Sunday after the Israelis narrowly won the first meeting between the teams on Friday, 4-2.

"You've just got to play the game. Just because they beat us in a close game -- we were not rested and we hung with them," Nieto told "So you've still got to play the game.

"We know what they [have]; they know what we have. We're just going to go out there and play nine innings."

Saturday's win was Spain's second of the modified double-elimination qualifying round, the first coming Thursday when they cruised past France, 8-0.

Pirates prospect Gift Ngoepe walked twice out of the leadoff spot for South Africa, while Indians farmhand Kieran Lovegrove took the loss after allowing four runs on two hits and two walks with a strikeout over 1 1/3 innings.

Ngoepe was 1-for-9 with four walks and a run scored in three qualifying round games after batting .232 with a .330 OBP and 22 steals in 124 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton.

In other WBC qualifying action:
South Africa 5, France 2

South Africa eliminated the French with an 11-inning victory, despite being held hitless for the first 7 2/3 frames. Former Brewers farmhand Paul Bell doubled in two runs in the top of the 11th and Jonathan Phillips followed with an RBI single.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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