instagramyoutubecustom1

Bologna and Rimini each 1 step from the IBL Finals, Nettuno and San Marino hope to stay alive.

They reached this point a little differently, but Bologna and Rimini both took 3-1 leads in their best of seven Italian Baseball League semi-final series, and have pushed Nettuno and San Marino to the brink of elimination heading into Wednesday's game fives.

After taking a 2-0 series lead at their home park Gianni Falchi, Bologna took what is universally the toughest road trip to Nettuno for the next games of the series.  Nettuno won game 3 after a costly error by Infante lead to two Nettuno runs, and stellar pitching by De La Cruz (win) and Rodriguez (save) made it hold up despite an eighth inning run for Bologna, and having the tying and go ahead runs on base in the ninth.  But in game 4, Nettuno's hopes of evening the series were crushed by seven early runs by Bologna, including RBI hits by Liverziani and Marval in a four run fifth inning that knocked out Estrada and put the game out of reach.

Rimini instead played a pair of exciting extra innings games, beating San Marino in game 3, before San Marino fended off the series sweep in game 4.  In game 3, San Marino lead 2-0 at the start of the eighth inning with a great chance of getting back into the series, but Rimini added single runs in the eighth, ninth, and tenth to win 3-2. Wildness by three San Marino relievers doomed them, as several hit by pitches, and walks set up the Rimini scoring chances, and the winning run scored on a bases loaded wild pitch.  Driving to the brink of a series sweep and elimination, San Marino found a way to stay alive in game 4, taking advantage of key Rimini errors in the 8th to tie the game, and in the 11th to score the walk off winning run and keep their season alive.  With one out and the bases loaded, Rimini played for the double play, but Zappone couldn't turn it in time to end the inning, and made a winner out of Florian who pitched four stellar innings of relief after a very strong seven innings by starter Camacho.

Heading into Wednesday's game 5s, both Nettuno and San Marino need a miracle of three wins in a row to reach the finals, but each has an easier and simpler goal.  Win one game at home to force the series back to Bologna and Rimini respectively, preventing their opponents from celebrating in front of disappointed home fans.