The third World Baseball Classic begins on Wednesday in Jupiter, Florida (at Roger Dean Stadium) with the first of four qualifiers. There, South Africa, Israel, Spain, and France will play in a double-elimination format. The winner will head to the 2013 WBC.
South Africa faces Israel in the first game tomorrow at 7pm ET. The following night, Spain faces France. The Jupiter qualifier will conclude on September 23rd.
Three former Duke baseball players will be a part of the first qualifier in Jupiter.
First baseman Nate Freiman and shortstop Jake Lemmerman will team up for Israel under former big leaguer Brad Ausmus.
Lemmerman was already named the team’s starting shortstop, as he spent this past minor league season with Double-A Chattanooga in the LA Dodgers organization. He only hit .233, but walked 53 times and scored 52 runs. He also made just 15 errors at shortstop (which is low for the minors).
Freiman is coming off a stellar season with Double-A San Antonio of the San Diego Padres organization. He was a mid and post-season Texas League All-Star. He hit .298, which was seventh in the league. He was third in the league in homeruns (24) and first in RBIs (105). Freiman was sixth in runs scored (80) and fourth in doubles with 31. Following the WBC qualifier, he will be heading to Arizona for the prestigious Arizona Fall League.
Chris Manno, a left-handed reliever, will be coming out of Spain’s bullpen. He spent this past minor league season in Double-A Pensacola in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He finished with a 3.78 ERA in 50 appearances. He struck out 51 and walked 22.
The games are expected to be live streamed on the World Baseball Classic website.