After defeating Spain 12-8 at Viladecans ballpark the day prior, Team Italy returned to beat the Spaniards by a score of 13 to 8 during the Baseball Series in Barcelona on September 3, 2019. Team Italy got on the board first in the top of the first inning with an unearned run. Azzurri leadoff hitter Aldo Koutsoyanopulos reached first base on an infield error and later scored on an RBI single by catcher Beau Maggi.
Team Italy manager Gilberto “Gibo” Gerali sent out starting pitcher Andrea Pizziconi, who experienced some control issues (one hit batter and one walk) and allowed one run on two hits in the bottom of the first inning. The damage was limited due to an inning-ending double play set up by second baseman Jose Ferrini to shortstop Erick Epifano and a quick relay to first baseman Chris Colabello.
The Italian offense erupted and scored three runs to take a 4-1 lead in the top of the second inning. After Erick Epifano doubled to right field and Aldo Koutsoyanopulos reached first base on an infield error, Team Italy slugger Chris Colabello slammed a three-run blast over the right field fence.
Despite giving up a trio of walks and a single in the bottom of the second inning, starter Andrea Pizziconi managed to escape with only one run allowed to Spain when he ended the inning with a strikeout. Team Italy wasted no time in providing more run support in the top of the third inning. After back-to-back singles from Mattia Reginato and Beau Maggi, Jose Ferrini hit an RBI single. Erik Epifano followed with a three-run home run. With an 8-2 advantage, Andrea Pizziconi pitched a scoreless third inning.
Reliever Valerio Simone was impressive throwing a scoreless fourth inning. He was replaced on the mound by Justin Cicatello, who surrendered three runs on two hits in the bottom of the fifth inning. Team Italy rallied back to score two runs in the top of the sixth inning. After Jose Ferrini reached base on an infield error, pinch hitter Sebastiano Poma hit a two-run homer to make it a 10-5 game.
Azzurri reliever Filippo Crepaldi entered the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning and gave up a leadoff home run to Oscar Angulo. The Italians retaliated in the top of the seventh inning with two runs to increase the 12-6 lead. After pinch hitter Alessandro Vaglio singled, Federico Giordani delivered at two-run homer. Filippo Crepaldi returned to pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning, but he had to be bailed out after Spain scored two runs. Team Italy skipper Gibo Gerali summoned lefty reliever Michael Johnson, who quickly ended both the seventh and eighth innings with strikeouts. Azzurri sparkplug Aldo Koutsoyanopulos manufactured an insurance run after his single, stolen base, and ensuing wild pitches by Spain put the Italians on top 13-8.
With the win over Spain in the rubber match, Team Italy (2-1) now takes possession of the lead in the four-game Baseball Series. The Azzurri baseball squad closes out the exhibition series at the Sant Boi ballpark for the finale on September 4 at 11 am (local time). Forza Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti