Jeremy Affeldt and Ryan Vogelsong (USA) were eliminated in the second round, while Sergio Romo (Mexico) and Pablo Sandoval (Venezuela) never made it out of group play. Along with Pagan, Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic) has played extremely well, allowing just one hit over four innings, and will play in the other semifinal tomorrow.
Pagan has been a main reason why Puerto Rico has made it to the third round. According to the World Baseball Classic statistics, his .360 batting average ranks sixth among all hitters with at least 20 at bats. Also, he leads his team in on base percentage, walks, total bases, stolen bases, triples and slugging percentage.
Against the United States, Angel Pagan went 2-3 with a walk and a run, and also made the final putout that eliminated USA from the tournament. Here's what he had to say after the game:
"When I caught that ball I was thinking of my country, all the way. You know cause that's what we're here for ... To project a positive message to my fellow Puerto Ricans and hopefully we did. Hopefully Puerto Rico is proud of us."
Angel Pagan has displayed the utmost pride for his country and that's really what the World Baseball Classic has strived to achieve. If nothing else, it gives players the opportunity to represent their home country in the best way they know how, on a baseball diamond.
Later today, Puerto Rico takes on Japan in the semifinals. Pagan will be roaming a very familiar center field as the remaining games are all held at AT&T Park. Despite playing a key role in the United States' elimination, it's safe to say many Giants fans in the stands will be rooting for Pagan to have success.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.