Padua Bests Former Big Leaguer, Splits Series

Tommasin Padova pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the Italian Baseball League season as they survived former top MLB Prospect Rudy Owens to beat UnipolSai Bologna on Friday night, 2-1. The Paduans went down 10-1 the following day, but prevented Bologna from tying for the IBL lead with T&A San Marino.

In the series opener, Nick Nosti, one of the few Americans in the circuit, led off the game with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Osmán Marval. That was all against Padova, as Kenny Rodríguez and Roberto Canache were excellent against one of the league’s best clubs.

Meanwhile, Owens pitched like the ace he is, throwing three hitless frames before Carlos Perdomo ripped his biggest hit of the season. Perdomo, like Owens one of the best young imports in the IBL, ripped a solo shot off Bologna’s star pitcher, tying the game at one.

That was the only hit allowed by the former Pirates’ farmhand, who came out after eight one-hit, one-walk frames, having struck out a whopping 10 Paduans.

After Canache tossed a scoreless ninth, the Tommasin men set to work against reliever Filippo Crepaldi, who quickly got two outs. After Italy’s National Teamer walked Raffaele Medoro, the Paduans took advantage. Perdomo had another big hit, this time a single, and a walk to Mark Teahen loaded the bases.

Giuseppe Sciacca, who came in hitting .219, stepped up, and Crepaldi plunked him on the back as Medoro trotted home for the walk-off win. Canache improved to 2-6 and dropped his ERA to 3.94 with four scoreless innings, whiffing four and scattering a pair of hits and two walks. The righthander is on a stellar run the last three weekends, putting up a 1.38 ERA and striking out 15 in 13 innings. Rodríguez continued his stellar IBL debut with five four-hit frames, striking out two. He has allowed only six hits in nine innings, with a single run surrendered.

Owens (5-3), meanwhile, shook off a recent slump on the mound to drop his ERA to an even 3.00. The southpaw has struck out 59 in 54 frames, walking a mere 11. Fellow former major leaguer Teahen was 0-for-3, striking out once and drawing two walks.

A day later, Padua’s offensive woes continued against Andrea Pizziconi and three relievers, while the club’s pitching was not up to the challenge, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits and six walks. Diego Fabiani (3-6, 3.30) was solid as the starter, tossing five innings, allowing three earned runs on three hits and three walks, whiffing three, but Bologna blew the game open with a three-run seventh, tacking on two more in the eighth.

Eight of the UnipolSai hitters hit safely, with Robel Garcia delivering a brace of doubles and Jose Flores driving in four on a single and a two-bagger. Nosti also had two safeties. Teahen was hitless again, recording another 0-for-3 line and earning a base on balls.

Teahen’s woes continued as his average dropped to .221/.391/.314, though he played flawless defence at third and drew three walks to push his total to 23 in 26 games, tied for the most in the IBL.

Bologna is one game out of the IBL lead at 18-8, while Padua now has a 9-17 record, 10 games out of first, but six out of the cellar. The road will not get easier for the Tommasin men, who ended a four-game winning streak in the series finale. This Friday and Saturday will see them travel to face Italian leaders T&A San Marino, with first pitch at 19:00 GMT each day.

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About Gabriel Fidler

Card Sharp is devoted to my chief indoor hobby-baseball (and occasionally football [that's soccer to you Americans], hockey, American football, and basketball) card collecting.
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