DOULIOU, Taiwan- Jared Mortensen (Abbotsford, BC) tossed seven scoreless innings on the mound and Canada received some timely hitting, including a two-run homer from Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, BC), to defeat Italy 4-0 at Douliou Baseball Stadium.
The win improves Canada’s record to a perfect 4-0 with a first place showdown against the Netherlands slated for tomorrow (6:30pm CST/5:30am EST). A win will give Canada a quarterfinal match up against the fourth seed from Group B, while a loss would put Canada in second spot in Group A and a date with the third seed from Group B. All four quarterfinal match-ups are scheduled for Monday with times and locations to be announced following tomorrow’s games.
Box Score – Canada 4 Italy 0
Mortensen did not allow a base runner past second base until the seventh when a lead off double moved 90 feet from home plate on a ground out. Mortensen left the runner there, however getting a strikeout and groundout to end the threat.
He scattered five hits and struck out three batters over his seven innings of shutout ball.
“He was outstanding,” said Canada Manager Ernie Whitt when asked about his starter. “He threw strikes, he was pitch efficient and we needed that from him tonight.
“We wanted to try and save our bullpen for the upcoming games and he was able to help us do that.”
Kyle Lotzkar (Delta, BC) came out of the bullpen for the eighth and was able to preserve the shutout with two scoreless innings on the mound that included three strikeouts.
Canada opened the scoring in the bottom of the first and it was red-hot Tyler O’Neill who belted his third home run in three games to put Canada in front 2-0. With Pete Orr (Newmarket, ON) on first after a walk, O’Neill stepped to the plate and drove a pitch into the left field bleachers that left the park in a hurry.
Canada took advantage of a couple of walks and wild pitch in the fourth as Skyler Stromsmoe (Etzikom, AB) lifted a fly ball to centre that allowed Brock Kjeldgaard (London, ON) to easily tag and score from third base, while Tyson Gillies (Vancouver, BC) advanced to third on the play. Sean Jamieson (Kitchener, ON) then stepped to the plate and surprised with entire ballpark as he dropped a bunt down the third base line that went for a single to score Gillies.
With first place on the line, Whitt knows that his club will need to be at their best to come out on top.
“We weren’t ourselves tonight and that’s something we’ll need to deal with for tomorrow,” he said. “They’re (Netherlands) a good offensive team and they’ve had a good tournament, but so have we, so it should be a good game.”
Canada will conclude play in Group A tomorrow against the Netherlands (6:35pm CST/5:30am EST) at Intercontinental Stadium…RHP Chris Leroux (Mississauga, ON) is expected to start for Canada…Fans in Canada can watch the game on Sportsnet ONE (5:30am ET with a replay at 5pm ET)…Fans not in the Sportsnet ONE viewing region can view the game at: wbsc.org/en/tournaments/2015-premier12/streaming.
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