After the unexpected loss vs Austria, today’s game vs Italy should be a must win game. But deep down inside, this game might have been a calculated loss for the Belgians.
Italy 14 – 3 Belgium
It was one of those games. The Belgian lineup was kept in check by the Italian pitching staff and the own pitching staff did not come through.
Despite getting only one runner on base in the three first innings, Belgium could keep pace with the Italians as the Azzurri scored a run in each of the first three frames. But in the fourth inning, the Italians had their first offensive outburst of the game. Four walks and a bases-loaded triple drove in four runs for the Italians.
But Belgium countered in the bottom of the fourth. Axel Poesmans came through with a double to right field on which Drew Janssen could score the first Belgian run, followed by a 6-3 grounout on which Dennis de Quint could score. Another 6-3 groundout drove in Axel Poesmans. But from there, the Belgian offense stalled.
After Italy scored a run in the sixth, the team had its second offensive outburst in the top of the seventh, with which it ended the game prematurely. With the bases loaded, Dario Pizzano cleared the bases with a double. After Vito Friscia drew a walk, Alberto Mineo hit a three-run shot to left field to add three more runs to the Italian score.
Belgium was close to score some more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but with runners in scoring position, Xander Verspreet flied out for the final out of the game.
Angelo Palumbo earned the win. In two innings he gave up one hit and two walks and struck out three. Brendan Verspreet took the loss. In two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk and struck out one.
Alberto Mineo was Italy’s best hitter. He went 3 for 4 and was a double shy of the cycle. He drove in seven runs and scored one himself.
With this win, Italy also clinches a spot in the quarter finals.