Italy collects their second win of the World Cup beating Nicaragua 6-3. The italians scored early and never needed to look back. First baseman Giuseppe Mazzanti hit a triple amd a double in his first two at bats and shortstop Tony Granato got three hits, including a solo homer that added a much required insurance run in the sixth. Nicaragua tried to limit the italian line ups by sending 6 pitchers to the mound. Italian starter Cillo left with the bases loaded in the fourth and his reliever Alessandro Maestri got the win. Giovanni D'Amico pitcheD the final inning for the save. A diving catch by Italy's third baseman Juan Carlos Infante early in the game and a couple of athletic plays by Nicaragua's shortstop Ivan Marin made the game really exciting for the fans.
Italy got on the scoreboard against Nicaragua starter Elvin Orozco when Mazzanti smashed a ball off the wall in left field scoring Infante and Granato, who had opened the game with back to back base hits. The azzurri wasted no time in adding one run on a base hit by Granato. Reliever Diego Sandino diD not have a long game also. The italians got to him in the third with a base hit by Ramos, a double by Mazzanti and another single by Avagnina. It meant two more runs and extended the italian lead to 5-0.
It was not going to be an easy game for Mazzieri's boys. After three relatively easy innings, starter Cody Cillo began struggling with his control in the fourth. He walked three hitter, hit one and allowed a two RBIs single to Nicaragua's captain Sandor Guido. Italy made their first call to the bull pen and Alessandro Maestri got out of a bases loaded jam striking out Nicaragua right fielder Juan Flores on a sweeping slider.
Maestri left after allowing a lead off double in the eight to second baseman Ofilio Castro. At that point of the game Granato's homer had extended Italy's lead to 6-3, but when Guido showed up he represented the tying run. The first baseman worked the count to 3-1 against reliever Justin Cicatello, then was late on a fastball and flied out to left.
Nicaragua had another chance in the ninth. Cicatello left after allowing a lead off base hit to shortstop Ivan Marin. His reliever Giovanni D'Amico walked the first batter, but then got two strike outs in a row (pinch hitter Douglas Morales and left fielder Jilton Calderon) on very effective change ups and the final out on a fly ball to center.
"When you don't hit at the right time" explained El Presidente Dennis Martinez, the manager for Nicaragua "You cannot win. Our offense is not at the same level of the best teams in the tournament. Italy played well and they look ready to play. You must credit them for this".
How come a former Big Leaguer of your caliber manages at the International level? "Well, I am from Nicaragua and proud of it. I am honored by the fact they asked me to manage the team".
Italy's manager Marco Mazzieri keeps the refrain going: "We won another final, but there are still 4 games to play. I think today we could have avoided to play the last couple of innings under pressure. After all, we had a three run lead. We shall talk about it, tomorrow the day off is much needed".
Italy's first baseman Giuseppe Mazzanti is happy for what he did: "Of course I am, expecially because I am helping Italy. We can compete at this level, we are showing it".
Did you think about hitting for the cycle? "Of course I did. Well, in the last at bat, with two strikes, I forgot about it".