Wright’s grand slam off Italy reliever Matt Torra was only the second in classic history. Jason Varitek hit the first on March 18, 2006, in a U.S. loss to Canada.
The U.S. (1-1) must beat Canada (1-1) today to avoid elimination and advance to the next round. Italy (2-1) secured a place in the second round with its wins over Mexico (1-2) and Canada (1-1).
Canada eliminated Mexico with a 10-3 victory in a game that erupted into a bench-clearing brawl in the ninth inning after Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni. Both teams had been warned about their conduct.
Starter Danny Betancourt threw six shutout innings as Cuba scored eight times in the seventh inning in a 14-0 victory over Chinese Taipei. The game was called in the middle of the seventh inning as the mercy-rule was invoked.
The semifinals and final game are in San Francisco’s AT&T Park from March 17-19.
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