Italy lets victory slip away late vs. Mets

Despite leading 2-0 through eight, Olenberger can't hold on

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METS 3, ITALY 2
at Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Thursday, March 5

Italy at the plate: Two big leaguers were responsible for the Italians' first run, which scored in the third inning. Frank Catalanotto (Rangers) singled with one out, advanced to second base on a groundout and scored on a base hit by Chris Denorfia (Athletics). A two-out single by Italian-born Guiseppe Mazzanti later scored Denorfia, but Italy was held off the scoreboard for the next six innings.

Mets at the plate: Singles by shortstop Jose Coronado and Marlon Anderson, playing left, and a triple by Jeremy Reed were the Mets' only hits in the first four innings. However, in the ninth inning, Cory Sullivan belted a two-run homer to tie the ballgame, pinch-hitter Daniel Murphy collected a single and Reed won it by doubling home Murphy.

Italy on the mound: Starter Roberto Corrandini, Cody Cillo, left-hander Cris Cooper, William LaMura, Jason Grilli (Rockies), Luca Panerati (Reds organization) and Tiago Da Silva shut out the Mets for eight innings. However, Kasey Olenberger allowed the Mets to rally for the victory in the ninth.

Mets on the mound: John Maine walked his first three batters and allowed two hits in the second inning, but escaped from his second appearance of the spring without allowing any runs. He was quite displeased with his performance. Team Italy scored twice in the third against Brian Stokes. Both Maine and Stokes were assisted by their outfielders, as Italian runners were thrown out in the second and third innings by Anderson and Reed, respectively.

Up next: Jon Niese makes his second appearance of the spring on Friday when he starts against the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. Fellow rookie Mike Antonini is to follow him. St. Louis' starter is to be Chris Carpenter, who will be making the second appearance of his spring comeback.

The Italian team is to play Venezuela in its first World Baseball Classic game on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Mark DiFelice (Brewers) will be the starter for Italy.

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.