Rienzo is Hard-Luck Loser in Team Brazil Loss on Sunday…

If you took a look at the box score after Sunday’s Team Brazil vs. Team Cuba game, 09022012_SO-072you’ll see that 2012 Charlotte Knights Andre Rienzo was the losing pitcher in the 5-2 loss. But, if you are like me and stayed up to watch the game — which started at 10:30 PM EST on Saturday night, you would know that Rienzo was sharp.

Rienzo started the game for Team Brazil, a night after his country lost to Team Japan in the opening game.

The Brazilian native, who made one start for the Knights during the regular season last year, was effective on the hill on Sunday in Japan.

The 24-year-old right-hander did not allow a hit through the first four innings. Due to a pitch count limit of 65, however, Rienzo’s night would be short-lived once the fifth inning started.

With the game scoreless, Rienzo began the fifth frame with a leadoff walk. The next batter (Eriel Sanchez) tried to bunt the runner to second with nobody out, but failed to get a bunt across and went down as the first out.

Erisbel Arruebarruena then singled and Rienzo was in jeopardy of quickly losing his shutout. Now, with runners on the corners and just one out — and Rienzo with 62 pitches, the next batter was most likely going to be his last.

Guillermo Heredia then stepped to the plate with a chance to put the Cuban team on the board. He would do just that.

Heredia grounded to shortstop Marcio Tanaka, who went to turn what should have been an inning-ending double play. Unfortunately for Team Brazil, and Rienzo, that didn’t happen.

Arruebarruena was on the move with the play and he made it to second base before the Brazilian second baseman did.  Although they got Heredia at first base, Jose Fernandez scored the game’s first run — making it a 1-0 lead for Cuba.

Now, trailing by a score of 1-0, and one of his runners in scoring position, Rienzo was forced to leave the game due to a pitch count.

Reliever Ernesto Norris then entered the game and allowed an RBI single to the first batter he faced to make it a 2-0 Cuba lead. The inning would end when Yulieski Gourriel flied out for the third and final out.

Cuba would tack on three more runs in the sixth frame, and although Brazil added two in the bottom half of the sixth, they fell short in the contest.

The loss was charged to Rienzo, who finished 4.1 innings, giving up just one hit, two runs, and four walks. Rienzo deserved a better outcome in the game, but had to settle for a devastating loss to Team Cuba.

All and all, it was a solid showing from Rienzo, who is one of the top prospects in the White Sox organization. Stay tuned for more on this talented right-hander again soon!

Video Recap

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