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Updated: November 15, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Lions, Golden Eagles open Asia Series with win
TAICHUNG (Taiwan) - Samsung Lions and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles both won their opening game of the Asian Series on Friday (November 15). The professional champions of South Korea and Japan are the two favorites in the sixth edition of the event. In the afternoon, the Lions broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning of its first game against Unipol Fortitudo Bologna, the Italian representative from Europe. The Lions won 5-2, but were outhit 9-6. The Golden Eagles won in the evening with a 6-1 score after a rally in the eighth inning vs. EDA Rhinos, the runner-up of the Taiwanese professional league. As host country, Taiwan is allowed to participate with its champion and runner-up. Taiwanese champion Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions and Australian champion Canberra Cavalry play their first games on Saturday.

Samsung Lions vs. Unipol Fortitudo Bologna
In the opening game, which was attended by some 500 spectators and played on a bright, sunny afternoon, Bologna opened the score in the second inning. Alessandro Vaglio (with .410 Bologna's best hitter this season) led off with a walk issued by starter Jung-hyun Baek, who was a reliever during the regular season, pitching in 28 games. Veteran Claudio Liverziani then singled to bring Vaglio to third base, but was eliminated himself while advancing to second base. A single by Luca Bischeri then brought in Vaglio to give the team of Manager Marco Nanni an early lead. A single by Marco Sabbatini followed and with two outs, Bologna got the bases loaded when Juan Carlos Infante was hit by a pitch, but pitcher Baek then ended the inning with a strikeout.

The Lions came alongside in the home of the second inning. Seung-yeop Lee led off with a single, then Young-seop Bae walked. Both advanced on a sacrifice bunt, then Lee scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Ji-young Lee.

...Seung-yeop Lee completes his 3-run homerun...
(© Photo: Simone Amaduzzi)
In the fifth, the Lions took a 2-1 lead when Hyung-sik Jung walked with one out by starter Bobby Blevins, who didn't play for Bologna in the regular season and was added for the Asia Series. Jung then stole second base and scored on a single by Han-yi Park.

Bologna made it a 2-2 score in the top of the seventh. With one out, Luca Bischeri doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Francesco Fuzzi, who advanced on a single by Marco Sabbatini. After a pitching change, Fuzzi scored the tying run when reliever Chang-min Shim gave up a single to Andrea D'Amico. The inning then ended when Juan Carlos Infante flied into a double play.

The Lions then struck with three runs in the home of the eighth inning. Hyung-sik Jung led off with a walk and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Han-yi Park. Hereafter, Junior Oberto was brought in as new pitcher and he began with a strikeout. The lefthander then walked Suk-min Park intentionnally to set up a force play. But that failed, as Seung-yeop Lee then followed with a 3-run homerun, which gave the Lions a 5-2 lead.

Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles vs. EDA Rhinos
In the evening, the Golden Eagles also staged a rally in the eighth inning to win their opening game, just like the Korean Lions. The Eagles also briefly trailed, then came alongside and scored five runs in the eighth inning to decide the game.

The second game today was attended by almost 11,000 spectators in Taiching Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. The game remained scoreless for five innings, then the Rhinos opened the score in the top of the sixth inning. Golden Eagles-starter Wataru Karashima threw five solid innings, striking out eight batters. He gave up a lead-off single in the first inning, but then was supported with a double play. In the second at bat, he began with a strikeout, then gave up a single, but followed with two more strikeouts.

In the third inning, Karashima gave up an one-out single, which also didn't harm him. After retiring the side in the fourth inning, Karashima saw the Rhinos threaten to score in the top of the fifth inning. He gave up a lead-off single to Fu-zen Shen, then struckout the next batter, which was followed by a double by Guan-wei Yang, which also eliminated Shen. Hereafter, a walk followed, but a flyout ended the at bat.

In the sixth, the Rhinos did open the score. Karashima walked Zong-nen Lin and Kuo-hui Kao, but followed with a strikeout. Hiroyuki Fukuyama then took over the pitching and was greeted with an RBI-single by Chao-hang Zheng that put the Rhinos ahead. But it would be their lone run.

The Golden Eagles came alongside in the home of the seventh off of starter Nick Green. The American had given up five hits in the previous six at bats, but held the Japanese squad scoreless. In the seventh, he gave up a lead-off single to Shintaro Masuda, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Tetsuro Nishida. With two outs, Masuda scored the tying run when Ryo Hijirisawa singled.

The Golden Eagles then rallied for five runs in the eighth inning off of three pitchers. With one out, Ginji Akaminai reached on an error, then the bases got loaded when Taishi Nakagawa singled and Yusuke Kosai walked after Nakagawa was replaced by pinch-runner Tatsuro Iwasaki. The Eagles then took a 2-1 lead when Makoto Moriyama singled, which marked the end for reliever Chien-fu Yang, who started the inning. Ming-jin Tsai took over, but gave up a 2-run single to Tetsuro Nishida and an one-run single to Motohiro Shima. Hereafter, Huan-yang Chen became the third pitcher in the inning. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Ryo Hijirisawa that brought in the fifth run in the at bat and lifted the lead to 6-1.

(November 15)

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