Netherlands 000 100 001 2 5 1 Italy 000 102 00X 3 9 0
Italy won the opener of the European Baseball Series against the Netherlands on Friday evening. The team of new manager Gilberto Gerali downed the reigning European Champion 3-2 at Gavagnin ballpark in Verona, Italy. Two more games of the exhibition series will be played on Saturday and Sunday in Italy.
Kalian Sams gave the Dutch team a 1-0 lead with a solo home run leading off the fourth inning. But in the bottom half of the frame Nicola Garbella tied the contest with a home run. In the sixth RBI singles by Alex Sambucci and Mattia Reginato put Italy in front 3-1. Sams scored in the ninth on a RBI single by Dudley Leonora, but the Netherlands didn’t complete the comeback and went down in the first match of the series.
Alessandro Maestri, who played in Mexico this year, struck out six in five strong innings, allowing just one run on two hits. Yomel Rivera picked up the win with two innings of relief. Ludovico Coveri survived the ninth and got the save. Maikel Rietel took the loss, also in relief, for the Netherlands. Kevin Heijstek had thrown four solid innings to start the game. Mike Bolsenbroek closed it out.