Group B: Italy – Spain
Spain 002 001 005 8 5 1 Italy 012 000 000 3 9 0
Spain won the duel of undefeated teams against Italy in Group B of first-round play at the European Championship in spectacular fashion. A five-run ninth inning secured an 8-3 win, their fifth in the tournament. Oscar Angulo capped the rally with a three-run home run. Italy dropped to 3-1 and now faces an uphill battle towards the final.
Italy struck first in the contest, as Erick Epifano connected for a RBI double in the second. Spain countered in the top of the third with a two-run home run by Blake Ochoa to get in front 2-1. However RBI singles by Giuseppe Mazzanti and Jairo Ramos gave Italy the lead back in the bottom half of the same frame.
The score remained at 3-2 for Italy until the sixth, when Engel Beltre scored on a sac fly by Jesus Martinez. When the fans in attendance already thought about extra-innings Spain decided the contest. They loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with one out and Daniel Martinez pushed home the fourth Spanish run with a walk. Yancarlo Franco scored shortly after thanks to a groundout. Then Oscar Angulo stepped to the plate and sent a 3-2 pitch from Nick Pugliese over the fence in leftfield for a three-run home run.
Italy put two runners on with no outs in the bottom of the ninth. But a double play by Sebastiano Poma and a flyout by Alex Liddi ended the game with a Spanish celebration.
Photo by Ezio Ratti/FIBS