PC: MLB Properties
With a homer per inning average between them through seven, and five doubles on the day, Italy and Mexico were certainly giving the fans a lot to cheer about in the opening game of Pool D in Jalisco.
The first batter of the game, Esteban Quiroz, homered to left for the first tally mark. John Andreoli replied for Italy in the bottom of the inning with a homer to right to tie it up.
Quiroz stepped back up to the plate in the top of the 3rd hitting a double to right allowing Sebastian Elizalde to score but was thrown out trying to stretch the double into something more. In the top of the 4th Japhet Amador hit the third homer of the game splitting the difference between the prior two with a hit straight up the middle past the centerfielder.
In the fourth bats were swinging once again. For Mexico Amador started it with a homer to center. Sebastian Elizalde then singled to center allowing Efren Navarro to score. In the bottom of the inning Rob Segedin answered for Italy with a homer of his own and brought Daniel Descalso home with him making the score 4-3. Chris Colabello then homered to right and it was all tied up at 4.
Top of the 5th with the bases loaded for Mexico, Efren Navarro walked and Esteban Quiroz crossed the plate for the run. Bases were still loaded for Luis Alfonso Cruz who doubled to left allowing both Alex Verdugo and Japhet Amador to score. Mexico goes up 7-4. Italy answered in the bottom of the inning with a home run by Drew Butera making the score 7-5.
Top of the 7th Mexico loaded the up the bases with two out and Sebastian Elizalde stepped up to the plate. He singled to center to keep the inning going scoring two more. Amador and Roberson crossed the plate leaving runners on 1st and 2nd but Mexico wouldn’t be able to make anything more happen. They headed into the bottom of the inning ahead 9-5.
Then, as quickly as it began, the rapid-fire scoring had ceased. On a day where there were only three scoreless innings between them, if for no other reason than the drastic change in pace, this seemed to make those moments people talk about baseball being boring almost seem possible. Scoreless since the bottom of the 7th, Italy snapped us out of the lull in the bottom of the ninth so quickly it was like a slap across the face.
Francisco Cervelli doubled to left and then was replaced by pinch-runner Sebastian Poma. Chris Colabello then doubled to left and, with no outs, and runners on 2nd and 3rd, Alex Liddi, fresh off the DL, doubled to left as well driving in both runners. Ring up two in the RBI column for the DH. Suddenly it went from a homerun derby to an ‘everyone gets two’ event! With no outs and down now by just two, it was a new ball game for Italy with a runner in scoring position.
A fielding error by shortstop Luis Alfonso Cruz put Butera on 1st as Liddi moved to 3rd. Drew Maggi was patient at the plate, taking the walk, and the bases were loaded for Brandon Nimmo. Bottom of the order out of the way for Italy, the centerfielder, tops on the Italian lineup card for the day, stepped up to the plate. He singled to right scoring Liddi. John Andreoli singled to 2nd and Butera and Maggi score to end the game. Italy wins 10-9.
While Mexico had a clear game-changer on their bench, DH Amador who did his part going three-for-four including two home runs, team Italy won it one hit at a time. Colabello and Butera both went two-for-four with an RBI apiece, but it was Liddi and Segedin with one hit and two RBIs each and Andreoli, with one hit and 3 RBIs, who combined for more scoring. Italy also left no man standing. They left just seven men on base compared to Mexico’s 15 which, based on Pool A games, is line with the tournament average.
In his first game for the tournament, European umpire Winfried Berkvens (NL) handled the calls at 3rd.
Next up for Italy is Venezeula before Italy meets their final competitor for round 1, Puerto Rico.
Italy’s next two games are Saturday, March 11th at 21:00 CET and Sunday, March 12th at 21:30 CET. We’re not sure what you’re doing this weekend but we’re going to celebrate being able to watch AND get a good night’s sleep besides.