Italy drops exhibition opener vs. Nats

Pascucci homers, but late rally ends up falling short

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NATIONALS 9, ITALY 6
at Viera, Fla.
Tuesday, March 3

Nationals at the plate: Roger Bernadina hit a three-run homer to end the game. Outfielder Elijah Dukes went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run triple and a solo home run. Lastings Milledge, Wil Nieves and Ryan Zimmerman had RBI hits. Italy at the plate: Chris Denorfia and Michael Costanzo had an RBI apiece in the top of the seventh inning. Valentino Pascucci hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning. Costanzo tied the game at 6 in the eighth on a wild pitch by Gary Glover.

Nationals on the mound: Left-hander John Lannan and right-hander Shairon Martis pitched a combined six shutout innings. Marco Estrada and Wil Ledezma gave up a combined five runs.

Italy on the mound: Right-hander Mark DeFelice pitched two shutout innings, while left-hander Phillip Barzilla gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings. Right-handers Jason Grilli and Luca Panerati gave up a run each.

Up next: The Nationals return to Space Coast Stadium on Wednesday afternoon to play the Mets at 1:05 ET. Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will get the nod for Washington, while right-hander Mike Pelfrey will start for New York.

Italy is back in action against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. First pitch will be at 1:05 p.m.

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