After suffering a 10-0 shutout to San Marino in the first game of the Italian Baseball Series on September 17, 2020, defending Serie A1 champion UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna returned the following day to its winning form by defeating San Marino 7-4 in Game 2.
GAME 1 RECAP: San Marino manager Mario Chiarini called on Markus Solbach, a promising Los Angeles Dodgers minor-league pitcher from Germany, to start 2020 Italian Baseball Series Game 1. He was nearly perfect as the crafty right-handed pitcher threw 5.2 flawless innings with no walks before surrendering back-to-back singles to Bologna hitters Fillippo Agretti and Ray-Patrick Didder. During his remarkable 81-pitch performance, Markus Solbach struck out 13 batters before handing the ball off to reliever Dimitri Kourtis, who added two strikeouts of his own to finish the game.
San Marino got to Bologna starting pitcher Murilo Gouvea early in the top of the first inning when an RBI single by Maikel Caseres and Giovanni Garbella's three-run bomb to the deepest part of the field put the visiting team on top 4-0. San Marino added two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings after two-run home runs by Oscar Angulo and Luca Pulzetti respectively. The relentless offense tacked on two more runs in the seventh inning to nail the coffin shut 10-0.
GAME 2 RECAP: UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna manager Daniele Frignani summoned Italian-born and developed Chicago Cubs pitching prospect Matteo Bocchi to the mound for Game 2. San Marino countered with Team Italy pitching patriarch Alessandro Maestri, who has played in every World Baseball Classic since its inception in 2006. Control issues haunted Alessandro Maestri in the top of the first inning as a walk issued to Bologna two-hole hitter Lorenzo Dobboletta led to the game's first run after a subsequent wild pitch. Matteo Bocchi had problems finding the strike zone in the bottom of the second inning when giving up walks to Giovanni Garbella and Mattia Reginato, both of whom would later cross the plate after Vincent Ahrens reached first base on an error and an RBI single by Giulio Monello. Another Bologna defensive error allowed Lorenzo Avagnina to reach first base and Vincent Ahrens to score. Giulio Monello came home on an RBI single by Federico Celli to put San Marino ahead 4-1.
Bologna answered with one run in the top of the third inning when Ray-Patrick Didder scored on an RBI double by Eugene Helder. The Fortitudo offense came back for more in the top of the fifth inning after Alessandro Grimaudo and Julian Dreni crossed the plate on a two-run double by Ray-Patrick Didder, who also scored later on a wild pitch to give Bologna the 5-4 lead and starter Matteo Bocchi the eventual win. Closer Alex Bassani entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and held San Marino scoreless for the remainder of the contest to pick up the save. Nico Garbella relieved San Marino losing pitcher Alessandro Maestri in the top of the sixth inning and was responsible for the two insurance runs Bologna scored to make it a 7-4 game.
WHAT'S NEXT: UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna hosts Italian Baseball Series Game 3 on September 21, 2020, and Italian Baseball Series Game 5 on September 23, 2020. San Marino will be the venue for Italian Baseball Series Game 4 on September 22, 2020, Italian Baseball Series Game 6 on September 25, 2020 (if necessary), and Italian Baseball Series Game 7 on September 26, 2020 (if necessary). All championship games will begin at 2 pm (EDT) and be seven innings in length with no tie-breaker rule in effect. The AFI Italian-born and developed pitcher rule only applies to Game 5.
by Roberto Angotti