Nick Pugliese (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2009) struck out one in 1 1/3 scoreless innings of work to earn the win as Italy defeated Mexico in the opening game of pool D of the World Baseball Classic. Italy rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the ninth and held on for the 6-5 victory.
Nick Pugliese posted a 3-2 record with 2 saves and a 2.52 E.R.A. in 24 games for the 2009 Kernels squad. Pugliese struck out 46 in 35 2/3 innings of work while finishing 11 games as the Kernels squad finished with a 78-60 record under manager Bill Mosiello defeating the Peoria Chiefs in the opening round of the playoffs before losing in the semifinals to the Burlington Bees. Pugliese pitched in the Angels minor league system until 2011. He spent the 2012 season pitching professionally in Italy.
Efren Navarro (Cedar Rapids Kernels – 2008) and Ever Magallanes (Cedar Rapids Kernels manager- 2007) each were representing Mexico in the event. Navarro led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch hit single. Mexico would load the bases with two outs before Jorge Cantu grounded out to second to end the game.
Efren Navarro was a 2008 Midwest League All-Star for the Kernels. He hit .269 with 18 doubles, 2 HR and 45 RBI in 94 games for Cedar Rapids. Ever Magallanes led the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 78-61 record in 2007 season, which was the Kernels first winning season and playoff season during my time working there. Magallanes has been working within the Chicago White Sox organization as a manager and coach since 2009.