European Cup best of three: Game one in Bologna.

Today the two winners of the preliminary rounds of the European Cup in Rotterdam and in Paris faced each other for game one in Bologna. Fortitudo Bologna had won the tournament in Paris and advanced to the championship series. So did Curacao Neptunus from and in Rotterdam.

Curacao Neptunus @ Fortitudo Bologna  3 – 5

The Italians took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning as starter Orlando Yntema gave up two walks. Eventually with runners on third and second, Bologna scored two runs as third baseman Raily Legito made a rare catching error that gave the opportunity to runners Juan Infante and Claudio Liverziani. Afrter this inning, Yntema settled down before he was hit hard again in the fifth inning. Yntema gave up a lead off walk to Francesco Fuzzi. Then he wasn’t helped by his infield as Benjamin Dille couldn’t manage to make a throw to second base for what should have been the first out of a double play. That error would come back to haunt them. As Yntema was replaced by Kevin Kelly, Cesar Suarez homered to give Bologna a 5-0 lead.

The difference in this game was starting pitcher Marquis Fleming. The pitcher that comes from the organization of the Tampa Bay Rays and also played for the Lincoln SaltDogs (current club of Curt Smith and Shairon Martis, both from Curacao). In seven innings he was practically unhittable and allowed six hits. But these six hits were hit spread out in the game, so Neptunus never could be of any danger.
In the top of the eighth inning Fleming was replaced by Filippo Crepaldi. This turned out to be a good move for Neptunus as they managed to get back in the game. After Benjamin Dille and Raily Legito singled, Gianison Boekhoudt struck by hitting a homerun to bring Neptunus back within two runs from Bologna. After Chrstian DIaz got on base through a single, Crepaldi was replaced by Nicholas Pugliese and Neptunus couldn’t score more runs in the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Loek van Mil replaced Berry van Driel on the mound, in what might have been one of his last games for Neptunus, as the 30-year old has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins. Van Mil retired the first two hitters that he faced before giving up a single towards third base to Juan Infante. Eventually Van Mil got out of the inning by retiring Eladio Russo.
In the top of the ninth, Shaldimar Daantji led off with a single for Neptunus, followed by a walk drawn by Urving Kemp. But with a glimpse of hope at the horizon, Benjamn Dille grounded into a 4-6-3 double play
Of courze Marquis Fleming got the win. In seven innings he he gave up six hits, walked one and struck out nine. OrlandoYntema took the loss. even though he settled down after the first inning. In four innings he gave up four runs (one earned) on four hits. He walked four and fanned one.
Cesar Suarez was the hitter with the most impact for Bologna as he went 2 for 4 with a run scored and three runs batted in. A similar role was there for Gianison Boekhoudt who brought Neptunus back in the game with his three run homerun. He went 1 for 4 with a run scored and three RBI.

The box score tells that Bologna collected eight hits and Neptunus eleven. The Italians proved to be more effective.

The two teams will head to Rotterdam now where game two will be played on Saturday and if game three will be necessary, it will be played on Sunday.

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