Manuel OLIVERA kept his composure and Daniel FIGUEROA scored three runs as Spain beat Italy 6-4 Tuesday to remain in the title hunt at the European Championship.
The 29-year-old southpaw, who melted under the spotlight against Great Britain this past Sunday, redeemed himself by scattering four runs and five hits over six innings. Fernando GUTIERREZ got the final four outs tp pick up his second save of the tournament.
FIGUEROA opened the game with a single and moved to third base thanks to a passed ball and a wild pitch. Dewis NAVARRO’s groundball scored the 24-year-old speedster to give Spain a 1-0 lead.
Spain went up 4-0 in the second after loading the bases with no outs. Italian starter Giuseppe NORRITO got the hook after walking Spain shortstop Nestor PEREZ to force in a run. But Roberto CORRADINI surrendered a bases-loaded free pass to FIGUEROA and an RBI single to Daniel MARTINEZ.
Mario CHIARINI led the second off with a double and scored Italy’s first run on a grounder by Mathew CERIANI to make the score 4-1. The Italians scored twice in the third and once in the fourth to trim Spain’s lead to 5-4 heading into the fifth frame.
Rheiner CRUZ relieved OLIVERA in the seventh and threw 1.2 shutout innings before GUTIERREZ took over to seal the victory. FIGUEROA scored an insurance run in the ninth as Spain secured a must-win over Italy.
Spain (3-1) will clash with France (3-1) on Wednesday in a crucial Pool B contest while Italy (2-2) will take on winless Russia (0-4).