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Italy closes Euro pool play with a loss to Spain and a win against Croazia

Italy picked up their first loss in pool play at the 2016 Euros, giving up five runs to Spain in a ninth inning they started tied 3-3, but rebounded with a walk in the park over Croatia heading into the tournament's second phase.

Italy battled Spain in their premier match of Pool play, first leading 3-2 after three innings, and then being tied 3-3 heading into the ninth inning as both teams rotated pitchers to prepare for the second round.  The wheels came off in the ninth inning for Italy, as after Florian gave up a lead off single, Crepaldi came in and got the first out on a sacrifice bunt before walking Franco intentionally. The move backfired when another two walks loaded the bases and drove in the go ahead run and brought in Pugliese to pitch. A ground out scored Spain's second run, before Angulo broke the game open with a three run homerun and put the game out of reach.

Ramos, Epifano, and Desimoni each had two hits for Italy in the losing cause.

In their final game of pool play, Italy faced a Croatia team desperately saving their pitchers for their ninth place game the next day, and the results were predictable as Italy scored 22 runs, including 15 runs in the first three innings.  Coveri pitched the first four innings, with Crepaldi and Rizzo finishing out the game.

Italy actually trailed after the first inning, when their two early runs were responded to by three by Croatia including a double and a homer. Croatia's hopes didn't last long as Italy would score seven times in the second and six times in the third. The offensive outburst was through the entire lineup, but Valgio and Liddi homered, and Desimoni and Ramos each had four hits.

Italy now plays Germany, Netherlands, and Czech Repubblic Thursday through Saturday for a chance at the Championship game on Sunday, starting the second round a game behind both Germany and Netherlands.