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Updated: November 16, 2013
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Rhinos, Bologna eliminated in Asia Series
TAICHUNG (Taiwan) - EDA Rhinos, the runner-up in the Taiwanese professional league, and Unipol Fortitudo Bologna, the European Champions Cup-winner, are eliminated in the Asia Series. Both lost their second game on Saturday (November 16), meaning they were eliminated. The two best teams of the two 3-team pools advance to the semi-finals.

In the afternoon, Canberra Cavalry, the Australian champion, shutout the Rhinos 2-0 in their first game of the event. In the evening, Bologna was shutout 10-0 by Taiwanese champion Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, which also played its first game of the tournament.

The preliminary round will close on Sunday, then the semi-finals will be played on Monday and Tuesday, followed by the final on Wednesday.

EDA Rhinos vs. Canberra Cavalry
In the first game today, Canberra outhit the Rhinos 10-9, but only two runs were scored in the game, which was a close pitching duel.

The Aussies opened the score in the second inning off of Mark Torra, who pitched 8 2/3 inning. In the second inning, with two outs, he gave up a double to Michael Wells, who then scored the first run when Aaron Sloan followed with a single.

Canberra then did reach base several times in the next few innings, but scored its second run not earlier than the ninth inning. The Australians again scored with two outs. Mike Crouse then singled and advanced to third base on a single by Michael Wells. Crouse then scored the second run on a wild pitch by Torra. Next batter Aaron Sloan then walked and that meant the end for Torra, who was relieved by Chuck Morillo. A grounder ended the at bat, but Canberra had scored an insurance run.

Canberra-starter Mike Ekstrom struckout five and gave up eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, before being relieved by Jeff Lyman, who added two strikeouts. Sean Toler pitched the ninth inning. He gave up a basehit, but also struckout two batters to earn a save.

With an 1-0 lead, Ekstrom ran into problems in the fourth inning when the Rhinos hit three basehits and loaded the bases with no outs. Ekstrom then struckout the next batter and the inning ended with a double play.

...Stefano Michelini throws the...
...ceremonial first pitch...
(© Photo: Simone Amaduzzi)
Unipol Fotitudo Bologna vs. Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions
For the second day in a row, Bologna had to face some Lions. On Friday, the Samsung Lions, the champion of South Korea, defeated the Italians, 5-2. Tonight, the Uni-President Lions, the champion of Taiwan, shutout the European champion, 10-0.

Bologna played a good game on Friday and created several scoring opportunities, leaving a good impression in the strong field of participants. It took a 1-0 lead, it evened a 2-1 deficit, then lost 5-2 on a 3-run homerun. But today, the team from Manager Marco Nanni collected only two basehits and were beaten 10-0 in seven innings. Alessandro Vaglio and Daniele Malengo were the only two Bologna-players to connect for a basehit. The Lions collected 11 basehits off of four pitchers.

Before the start of tonight's game, Stefano Michelini, the President of Fortitudo Bologna, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

...The spectators made a lot of noise...
(© Photo: Simone Amaduzzi)
The Taiwanese Lions opened the score immediately in the first inning with two runs off of starter Giancarlo Alvarado. With one out, the Puerto Rican walked Fu-hao Liu, who then stole second base. Alvarado then also walked Wu-hsiung Pan. The two runners advanced on a grounder and scored on a following single by Yung-chi Chen on a full-count pitch. Chen is one of the star players with the Lions and played in Triple-A with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's.

In the second inning, Alvarado gave up two more runs on RBI-singles by Chi-hiang Lin and Fu-hao Liu, which led to a pitching change.

Trailing 4-0, Bologna appeared to do something back in its second at bat. After the lead-off hitter lined out, Alessandro Vaglio singled, then Gabriele Ermini walked. But then a foul-out followed. The inning ended when a drive by Marco Sabattini was nicely caught over his head by a falling rightfielder Fu-hao Liu.

In the remainder of the game, Bologna reached base only two more times. In the fourth inning, an error was followed by a double play In the fifth inning, Daniele Malengo singled with one out, but that was it for the Italian squad.

After a scoreless inning, the Lions added a run in the fourth on a single by Wu-hsiung Pan. A 3-run rally followed in the fifth at bat on a single by Kuo-ching Kao, sacrifice fly by Chih-kang Kao, triple by Chao-ting Tang and runscoring error. The 10-run difference was reached in the top of the seventh inning when the Lions added two more runs.

Lions-starter Chin-ming Wang pitched five innings and gave up the two Italian hits. He struckout only one batter, but was supported with good defense and spectators, who made a lot of cheering noise in Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.

While the first-ever European representative in the Asia Series is now eliminated, Bologna had made a good impression. The reactions in Taiwan were positive and so, this could mean that Europe will be represented again in the upcoming years in the Asia Series. In recent years, the champion of the professional league in China also has participated, but not this time.

...Bologna-starter Giancarlo Alvarado...

(© Photos: Simone Amaduzzi)
(photos used with permission; Simone, grazie)

(November 16)

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