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Koutsoyanopulos and Team Italy fall to O’Toole, McQuillin and Team Mexico at Olympic Games

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Ana Beltran | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona's Taylor McQuillin (18) pitching during the NCAA Tournament Regional game at Hillenbrand Stadium on May 17, 2019. Arizona won 5-1 vs. Harvard.

It has been a rough Olympic debut for first baseman Giulia Koutsoyanopulos and Team Italy, who lost 5-0 to Team Mexico on Sunday, July 25 at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium. This loss dropped Italy’s Olympic record to 0-5 and eliminated them from medal contention. 

Pitcher Dallas Escobedo entered the circle for Mexico, even though she had lost both games in which she was the starting pitcher. With a spot in the bronze medal game hanging in the balance, head coach Carlos Bernaldez stuck with his veteran pitcher in hope that she would find her grove. The game started out smooth for Escobedo, retiring the side in order. 

The starting responsibilities for Italy were given to pitcher Greta Cecchetti, who was also looking for her first win in Olympic play. Cecchetti started strong and sat down Mexico in order, signaling early on that this game would be a pitcher dual. 

Italy was given the first opportunity to score when Escobedo hit third baseman Giulia Longhi with a pitch high and inside. That opportunity quickly evaporated when designated player Emily Carosone hit a grounder right at Escobedo who was able to turn the double play to end the inning. 

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Mexico got their offense going in the bottom of the second when right fielder Suzanna Brookeshire hit a one out double to right center field, setting up an RBI opportunity for first baseman Victoria Vidales. After working a full count, Vidales grounded out to Koutsoyanopulos. However, Vidales made a smart play and stopped halfway down the baseline, forcing Koutsoyanopulos down the line to tag her which allowed Brookeshire to advance to third with no threat of a throwdown. 

With a runner on third with two outs, second baseman Chelsea Ann Gonzales Navarro smacked a line drive just fair down the first baseline to give Mexico a 1-0 lead. Cecchetti started losing her control and issued a walk catcher Sashel Palacios, an alumnus of Arizona State and the older sister of current Arizona catcher Sharlize Palacios. Cecchetti took a timeout to regain her focus, then struck out third baseman Amanda Sanchez on three pitches to end the inning. 

Things got worse for Italy in the bottom of the third when designated player Sydney Romero led off the inning with a home run to increase Mexico’s lead 2-0. The nightmare continued for Cecchetti in the bottom of the fifth inning when she gave up her second home run of the evening to shortstop Anissa Urtez for a 4-0 Mexico lead. That home run knocked Cecchetti out of the game, finishing with a line of 4.1 innings pitched with six hits, two walks and three strikeouts. 

RELATED: Mulipola and Team USA continue winning streak against O’Toole, McQuillin and Team Mexico at Olympic Games

Alexia Lacatena came on in relief of Cecchetti and an Italian team who were just looking to get out of the inning. Mexico was still looking for more runs, and they got another when left fielder Brittany Marya Cervantes Packler crushed a 3-2 pitch over the wall for back-to-back home runs. Lacatena did not even turn around because she knew once it left Cervantes Packler’s bat it was a no doubter. 

Italy would finally collect their first hit, belonging to shortstop Amanda Fama, in the top of the sixth. That was all the offense Italy would muster as they went down quietly the rest of the game. 

Once that came concluded around 7 a.m. MST, Italy played their final game against Canada later that evening where they were mercy ruled 8-1 in six innings. Now that Italy and Koutsoyanopulos are finished at the Olympics, here are some key stats from Team Italy. 

  • Finished the Olympics 0-5, the only winless team in the tournament. 
  • Did not score their first run until their final game. 
  • Outscored in the tournament 21-1. 
  • Had 13 hits for the whole tournament. 
  • Koutsoyanopulos batted .100 (1/10) in the tournament. 
  • The team hit only two extra base hits across five games. 

Mexico’s victory over Italy brings the teams record to 1-3 tied for fourth overall in the standings. 

Team Mexico will face Team Australia for the final game in Olympic pool play with the winner advancing to the bronze medal game. This game will be played at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on Monday, July 26 at 4 a.m. MST on NBCSN. 


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (11/24)
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Total (8/2)
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Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated November 24, 2021