Baseball World Cup Round 3, Nettuno:
USA – Cuba 5-3
CUB 000 000 300 3 5 2 USA 103 000 01X 5 8 1
Team USA won the highly anticipated duel against Cuba on Thursday in Nettuno by a final score of 5-3. The Americans already were qualified for the championship game. Cuba needs to beat Canada on Friday to clinch the second berth. The USA had a perfect start into the match, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the opening period, as Trevor Plouffe reached on a fielding error and scored all the way from first on a double by Ike Davis. They added three more runs in the third on a two-run homerun by Terry Tiffee and a RBI single by Jason Castro.
Cuba was very aggressive at the plate early on and didn’t get things going. In the seventh they finally threatened to turn the score into their favor. Michel Enriquez opened the frame with a solo shot to end the shutout bid. Yulieski Gourriel with a RBI double and Yovany Peraza with a double play groundball plated two more runs for the record champion. But a flyout by Jose Abreu with Gourriel on third ended the inning. They couldn’t score again. Team USA added an insurance run in the eighth on a RBI single by Buck Coats to seal the win.
20-year-old left-hander Trevor Reckling started for the team of head coach Eddie Rodriguez, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes later in the game. Reckling pitched a fast 1-2-3 inning, but didn’t come back for the second, as he was replaced on the mound due to an undisclosed shoulder injury. Lucas Harrell (W 3-0) came in and issued just one hit and a walk in four scoreless relief innings. Maikel Folch (L 2-1) gave up three hits, three runs (2 ER) and two bb in 2 2/3 innings.
For the first time in the third round we saw the attendance to climb into the four-digit range. 2,000 people came to the ballpark in Nettuno to watch the game between the baseball heavyweights. Team USA finishes the third round on Friday with a matchup against the Netherlands, live on Eurosport2. Cuba takes on Canada. Both games start at 7pm CET.