The Italian Baseball Series to determine the champion of the Italian Baseball League kicked off Thursday night, and home team Bologna topped defending champion Rimini 6-2 behind a balanced attach and a big inning.
The game kicked off between foreign starters Zielinski for Bologna and Hernandez for Rimini as might be expected. Scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when Bologna scratched across a single run on a bunt and two singles, Rimini tied it 1-1 in the fifth on a two out Retrosi single, and the game seemed destined for a typical low scoring pitchers' duel. Instead the bottom of the fifth brought fireworks, as six different Bologna batters singled and Bologna would score five times, and knock Hernandez out of the game. Rimini would add a single run in the seventh on a strikeout wild pitch and an error, but the game was well in hand.
Zielinski gave up only four hits in five and a third inning, before giving way to an electric Rivero who struck out seven in just two and two thirds innings, followed by a scoreless ninth by Searle. Eight different Bologna batters collected hits, with Sabbatini leading the way with three hits and two runs scored. For Rimini Stefano De Simoni and Jairo Ramos each had two hits out of Rimini's six total hits.
The seven game series continues Friday night in Bologna before shifting to Rimini on Monday.