EASLEY—Puerto Rico scored four first-inning runs off three Italy errors and had three pitchers combine for a no-hitter on its way to a 7-0 drubbing of Italy in the first game of Friday’s play at the Big League World Series at the JB “Red” Owens Recreation Complex in Easley.
Puerto Rico, the defending International Pool champions, has looked to be the dominant team among the five-team International Pool so far this series, outscoring opponents 16-2 in winning its first two games in the 2012 tournament. Puerto Rico has had 25 hits in those two games, while holding opponents to two runs and three hits in 14 innings of play.
Joe Jimenez started the game and earned the win, walking one and striking out seven in four innings. Francisco Rosa walked two with no strikeouts in an inning and a third and Randy Ventura got the final four outs without a base runner, with no walks and one strikeout.
Italy got runners on base early when Marco Mari walked in the first inning and the second batter, Daniele Furlan, was hit by Jiminez. The Puerto Rico pitcher then settled down and got the next three batters out to end the inning with two Italy players stranded on base.
In the bottom of the first, Rafael Oliveras got a one-out single and advanced to second on an error by Italy pitcher Carlos Advancini. Oliveras scored the first run of the game on a double by Victor Caratini. Caratini reached third on a wild pitch and scored when Giovannie Lugo reached first on an error. After a walk of Ventura. Lugo scored the third run on an infield single and Ventura scored on another error by Italy’s Advancini to give Puerto Rico a 4-0 lead.
Alexis Cruz was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of the second inning for Puerto Rico. Cruz scored on a single by Caratini to extend the lead to 5-0. Puerto Rico scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Oliveras had a one-out single and advanced to third on a double by Caratini. Lugo followed with a double, scoring both Oliveras and Cartini to make it 7-0 Puerto Rico.
Italy, which played the last game of the night Thursday in a 9-1 win over Canada before Friday’s 11 a.m. game, had two batters reach base on walks in the fifth inning, but did not have a base runner in the final two games.
Puerto Rico will be seeking its third win of the series against Canada at 9 a.m. Saturday. Italy, the champion of the Europe/Middle East/Africa Region, has Saturday off after playing the first three days of the tournament. Italy plays its next game against the Philippines, winners of the Asia/Pacific Region.