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World Baseball Classic officials pleased with ticket sales for Dodger Stadium games

They expect sales to pick up when semifinal matchups are set.

March 19, 2009|Kevin Baxter

SAN DIEGO — Although the field for this weekend's World Baseball Classic semifinals at Dodger Stadium wasn't set until late Wednesday night, tournament officials say they are pleased with ticket sales and anticipate a full stadium for the tournament's final three games.

"I do expect to see large crowds in Los Angeles based on what we've seen," said Paul Archey, Major League Baseball's point man for the WBC. "We're excited about Los Angeles. We're happy where we're at."

Archey said the 56,000-seat ballpark is already about half sold for both semifinals and Monday's championship game. But he expects ticket sales to pick up once the semifinal pairings have been determined.

Venezuela beat the U.S., 10-6, in rainy Miami on Wednesday to win Pool 2, meaning it will play in Saturday's first semifinal, with the U.S. facing the Pool 1 champion Sunday.

The Pool 1 final will be played tonight in San Diego with Korea facing the last semifinalist, the winner of Wednesday's elimination game between Cuba and defending WBC champion Japan.

In Wednesday's Pool 2 final at Dolphin Stadium, Adam Dunn's throwing error on a wet field opened the doors to a six-run second inning for Venezuela. Six players had at least two hits for the winners, led by Miguel Cabrera, who was three for five with a double and two RBI, and Max Ramirez, who hit a three-run homer in the sixth.

Mark DeRosa had three hits for a depleted U.S. team that has lost three-fourths of its starting infield to injury since it started the tournament 12 days ago.

Heading into Wednesday's late contest in San Diego, attendance was averaging 18,589 a game for the tournament, up nearly 20% from the first WBC when 737,112 tickets were sold for 39 games.

"We're pretty happy with that, obviously," Archey said. "We expect Thursday, Friday and Saturday ticket sales to be brisk . . . when we know who those teams will play."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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latimes.com/sports

Cuba vs. Japan

Find out who won the late game from the World Baseball Classic in San Diego.

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