Team Italy evens Baseball Series with 12-8 win over Spain

In day two of the four-day Baseball Series in Barcelona, Team Italy defeated Spain 12-8 at Viladecans ballpark on September 2, 2019. Team Italy manager Gilberto “Gibo” Gerali called on starting pitcher Murilo Brolo Gouvea, who dominated the Spaniards and allowed just two hits with five strikeouts and one walk in three innings of work.  

Team Italy got busy in the bottom of the second inning with a four-run offensive frenzy. After Federico Cello doubled down the left field line, designated hitter Beau Maggi and catcher Mattia Reginato walked to load the bases for Jose Ferrini. The Azzurri second baseman delivered a two-run single down the right field line. Then an RBI fielder’s choice by Erick Epifano put the Italians on top 3-0. Team Italy leadoff hitter Aldo Koutsoyanopulos followed with an RBI double to add another run. In the bottom of the third inning, Azzurri third baseman Giuseppe Mazzanti hit a solo home run to make it a 5-0 game.

Team Italy relief pitcher Claudio Scotti entered the contest in the top of the fourth inning and retired the side easily. The Azzurri offense blasted off again in the bottom of the fourth inning for two more runs. After Erik Epifano singled to left field and Aldo Koutsoyanopulos walked, Team Italy slugger Chris Colabello belted a two-run double to give the Italians a 7-0 lead.

Reliever Claudio Scotti came out to pitch the top of the fifth inning and nearly escaped unscathed; however, a leadoff single followed by a walk, two wild pitches, and two infield errors led to three unearned runs. Team Italy skipper Gibo Gerali summoned Luca Di Raffaele from the bullpen, and he quickly induced an infield flyout to stop the bleeding.

Team Italy answered in the bottom of the fifth inning with one run. Federico Celli walked, stole second base, and advanced to third base on a throwing error by the catcher. Then Mattia Reginato walked to put runners on the corners for Jose Ferrini, who came through in the clutch with an RBI fielder’s choice.

Leading 8-3, relief pitcher Luca Di Raffaele threw a scoreless sixth inning. Yomel Rivera pitched the top of the seventh inning and allowed one run on one hit. Team Italy fired right back and scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. A trio of singles by Azzurri captain Alessandro Vaglio, Jose Ferrini, and Erick Epifano loaded the bases for Aldo Koutsoyanopulos. The Italian sparkplug ignited with an RBI single. Nico Garbella followed with an RBI single to give the Italians a 10-4 advantage.

Reliever Yomel Rivera surrendered a leadoff home run to Spain in the eighth inning, but the Team Italy offense more than made up for it with another pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Federico Giordani doubled and scored on an RBI single by Alessandro Vaglio. He also came across the plate later on an infield error. Closer Alex Bassani entered the game in the ninth inning and allowed three runs on four hits to preserve the Team Italy win. 

With the 12-8 victory over Spain, Team Italy (1-1) has evened the Baseball Series. The Azzurri baseball squad returns to Viladecans ballpark on September 3 at 5:30 pm (local time) for the third exhibition game before heading back to Sant Boi for the finale on September 4 at 11 am. Forza Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen

by Roberto Angotti

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