Team Italy played with hustle and desire, but in the end Venezuela’s talent was too much to overcome. Venezuela steamrolled to an easy 7-0 victory.
Jose Lopez paced the 11-hit attack with two doubles and a single. Carlos Guillen and Melvin Mora each had solo home runs and Bobby Abreu had two hits. Venezuela had baserunners in every inning.
Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo only used three pitchers in the game. Starter Carlos Silva went four innings, as did Felix Hernandez. Both are starting pitchers for the Seattle Mariners and looked sharp at times.
Italy had two stellar defensive plays of note. In the first inning with a runner on first, Bobby Abreu stroked a long drive to right center field. Italian right fielder Mario Chiarini got a great jump, ran a long way, and then launched his body in an all-out dive to haul it in.
In the bottom of the fourth, Abreu tagged up on a fly ball to right and went to third as the throw came in to the second baseman. Abreu rounded the bag and did not see pitcher Mark DiFelice, who had routinely backed up the play at third, sneak in and take the throw from second base to catch Abreu napping.
Italy must find ways to score runs if they hope to stave off elimination Monday against Canada. Venezuela will try to ride their hot bats against the powerhouse USA team Sunday evening.