With the final out called, Italy’s experience in the 2017 Classic may have come to an end.
Out of the box the offense on both sides were ready for action. Italy led off the top of the 1st scoring two runs on a homer by John Andreoli who drove in Nimmo with the hit. And then the sixth pitch of the game was thrown. Welcome back to Mexico where the balls love to fly. In the bottom of the inning Javier Baez hit a line drive to left that scored Angel Pagan. At the end of one Italy lead 2-1.
In the Top of the second Drew Butera hit a solo homer to left, the second of the game for Italy in as many innings. In the bottom of the inning it was Puerto Rico’s turn to score two. Roberto Perez scored on a single to left by Enrique Hernandez. Angel Pagan grounded into a double play and Mike Alives came around to score in the commotion. Heading into the third the game was all tied up at three.
Italy failed to score in the top of the inning making it the first half inning of the game without a run crossing the plate. Carlos Correa scored on a Beltran double in the bottom of the inning putting Puerto Rico ahead for the first time in the night 3-4.
In the fourth Italy was held scoreless for the second consecutive inning. In the bottom of the fourth Carlos Correa racks up three RBIs with a homer to left and, with less than a half an hour of play over, launches a reminder to anyone who’s been keeping up with today’s games that the action had, once again moved back to Mexico where there’s no dome keeping the ball at bay. With a single pitch, Puerto Rico extended their lead to four.
While Italy added another scoreless inning to their offensive totals, Puerto Rico continued to pad their lead. Once again RF Aviles crossed the plate on a triple by CF Enrique Hernandez. Francisco Lindor then sacrificed his at bat with a fly to center, to give Hernandez plenty of time to make it home. Puerto Rico goes up by six.
Italy continued to be shut out in the top of the 6th and managed to hold Puerto Rico down as well. Making the 6th the first scoreless inning of baseball between the teams. Heading into the bottom half of the game, the score remained 3-9. Neither team would score for the rest of the game. Puerto Rico’s bullpen combined for nine strikeouts and left just three Italians on base. Italy’s staff struck out nine and left 21 Puerto Ricans stranded by comparison.
Netherlands’ umpire Winfried Berkvens spent his third game at 3rd today. He’s also worked one game in his favorite position at 1st but has yet to be placed behind the plate. With up to three games left in the round, he’s still got time. Whether that happens or not, we already know he wouldn’t trade the experience.
On your lunch it’s the Round 2 rematch between the Netherlands and Israel in Tokyo. Game time is at 11:00 CET on Monday, March 13th. Keep an eye on our social feed for updates. We’ll have it covered.
UPDATED 12:00 CET: Venezuela lost to Mexico early on Monday eliminating themselves from the tournament. Had they won, Italy would be on a plane. Italy beat Mexico and Mexico beat Venezuela creating a three-way tie in the Pool for 2nd. Today's tie-breaker between Italy and Mexico begins at 9:00P/EDT / 2:00 CET Tuesday, March 14th in Mexico.