Australia score upset baseball win over US

Pitcher Timothy Atherton was in superb form for Australia who beat the USA 2-1

Australia have scored a historic 2-1 win baseball win over the United States to give them an outside chance of direct qualification to next year's Olympics.

Australia had lost all nine of their previous matches to the United States at World Cups and the Olympics but edged the powerhouse baseball nation at the Premier12 tournament at the Tokyo Dome on Wednesday.

They must now beat Taiwan in their last super round match on Saturday and rely on other results to reach Sunday's bronze medal game and earn a direct Games ticket.

Otherwise, they will have to negotiate a tricky two-stage qualification process next year, having to win an Oceania qualifier and then take out a six-team international tournament in Taiwan for the last Games berth.

Centrefielder Aaron Whitefield scored two runs with a single in the first inning and the Americans were scoreless until the eighth inning.

Mark Payton then homered, but otherwise Australia shut down the American bats for a massive upset win..

Starting pitcher Tim Atherton earned the win with a stellar 5.1 inning performance, not conceding a hit until the bottom of the fifth.

Veteran Peter Moylan and Ryan Searle then relieved before closer Jon Kennedy went to the mound in the ninth to retire the last two batters and earn the save.

Australia also looked out of contention in last week's group stage, before a win over Canada and the South Korean win over Cuba meant they qualified for the super round.

They were coming off this week's losses to Japan and Mexico before taking down the United States.