Categorized | Europe, Tournaments

2010 EC: Sweden Upsets Italy

GERMANY – Bjorn Johannessen finished 2-for-3 with a home run, and Rickard Leander also went deep, as Sweden upset Italy, 3-2, Thursday in the final matchup of the first round to advance at the 2010 European Championship.

Italy threatened to go on top in the first after Mario Chiarini doubled with two outs, and Giuseppe Mazzanti reached on a walk. But Swedish starter Joakim Claesson sat down Jairo Ramos on an infield pop-up to strand both runners.

The underdogs manufactured a run in the bottom of the same frame to take the lead. Italian starter Riccardo De Santis missed on a full-count pitch to leadoff man Anthony Dermendziev, who stole second base with one down. Magnus Pilegard’s infield hit moved the speedy centerfielder 50 feet from paydirt, and Kris Sjoeberg singled up the middle.

Sweden pushed its cushion to three in the second. Johannessen led off with a shot over the right field fence, and Leander followed with a drive in the same direction. Meanwhile, Claesson was limiting the hard-hitting Italian lineup to a pair of hits over the first five frames.

In the top of the sixth, Italy cut its deficit to 3-2 with a pair of runs after a rain delay. Chiarini homered off an 0-1 offering from Claesson with one out and Mazzanti followed with his fourth long ball in five games to make it a one-run affair.

A controversial call heated tempers an inning later. Simone Albanese chased Claesson with a leadoff double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Stefano Desimoni delivered a potential game-tying sacrifice fly to left field but Albanese, who appeared to beat the throw, was called out at the plate and ejected for protesting the botched call.

The Azzurri put the tying run on second with two outs in the ninth before reliever Nick Soubiea induced a game-ending groundout off the bat of Jack Santora.

Claesson (2-0) earned the win after he pitched six innings and allowed two runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts.

De Santis (0-1) started on the hill for the visitors and was charged with three runs on six hits over four frames.

Chris Howard drove in six runs and smacked two home runs, and both Sasha Lutz and Ludwig Glaser added four hits as Germany used a late burst of offense to down Greece in the opening game of the final round.

Dominik Wulf tallied three RBIs and Cedric Bassel scored a trio of runs on three hits for the Germans who picked up their fifth win in six games.

Greece used a four-run third to climb out of a one-run hole before the host nation closed the gap with two scores in the bottom of the third. Glaser doubled home a pair of runs the next inning to give Germany the lead, and Howard capped the frame with a three-run bomb.

The Greek squad collected five hits, and crossed the plate twice on wild pitches, in the seventh to pull even. However, the Germans took the lead again in the bottom of the same inning, and Howard drilled his second three-run drive of the game the following frame as the tournament hosts piled on eight scores to blow the game wide open.

Nils Hartkopf (2-0) overcame two bases-loaded wild pitches to earn his second win.

Photo courtesy of Ezio Ratti/FIBS

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