Great Britain scored a run in the eight inning and nipped France 4-3 Tuesday to bolt atop the Pool B standings.Brant UST, whose error in the seventh allowed France to tie the game, drew a walk to open the eight inning and later scored the winning run on an infield hit by pinch-hitter Alex MALIHANDIS. Mike NICKEAS double to left field was the key hit.
Stephen SPRAGG slammed the door on any comeback hopes of the French National Team (3-1) giving up just an infield hit in registering the final six outs. A reliever in the Dutch Major League, the 24-year-old SPRAGG also struck out two hitters.
The British turned a single, double and an error into three first-inning runs to grab a 3-0 lead off France starter Anthony PIQUET. But France got solo home runs from Florian PEYRICHOU and Jerome ROUSSEAU in the second and the fifth to trim Great Britain’s lead to 3-2.
France tied the score in the seventh with two outs when UST made an error on Sebastien HERVE’s grounder allowing pinch-runner Luc Piquet to score from third. But Great Britain responded with a run the following inning and should have scored more.
UST opened the inning with a free pass and Great Britain had runners on second and third with no outs after NICKEAS lined a double to left. French skipper Jeff ZEILSTRA opted to bring in Pierrick LEMESTRE who intentionally walked Ian YOUNG to load the bases.
LEMESTRE fanned Craig PYCOCK for the first out before pinch-hitter Alex MALIHOUDIS infield hit scored UST from third. But the 25-year-old French reliever induced a grounder from Bradley MARCELINO and struck out Tim COLLINS to end the inning and scoring threat.
France (3-1) will meet Spain (3-1) in a key Pool B matchup on Wednesday while Great Britain (3-1) will look to continue their surprising run against Ukraine (1-3).