Legends On Deck

Caribbean Series: Venezuela Remains Perfect, Mexico Drops First

Oscar Valdez strikes out eight over seven innings. (Team Venezuela)

With only one day left of round play on Friday, teams needed Thursday’s games to see who would play in Saturday’s semi-finals round.

Venezuela faced off against Cuba in the early game and after taking care of Puerto Rico and getting by the Dominican Republic teams, they looked to remain perfect against a Cuban team struggling to stay competitive in the Series.

After Cuba took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning, Venezuela came right back in the top of the third with four runs of their own to lead 4-1. Venezuela would pull away adding two more runs as their pitching staff kept Cuba in check only allowing one more run to secure the 6-2 victory.

Venezuela had 10 hits in the game highlighted by Balbino Fuenmayor who finished 3 for 4, with a home run and two RBI’s. On the mound Cesar Valdez earned his first win by tossing seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out eight.

For Cuba, Alexander Malleta and Luis Valdes both homered but the team didn’t have enough offense to keep up with Venezuela. Cuba’s pitching staff struggled with their starter Yoanni Yera pitching only 2.1 innings, giving up four runs on six hits.

In the evening game, Mexico were hoping to remain perfect against the Dominican Republic, as they led 2-0 through 7 1/2 innings, but team DR scored one run in the bottom of the eighth and two runs in the bottom of the ninth to steal a victory. Both teams are now 2-1 heading into Friday’s games.

Mexico had only five hits in the game, with Eric Farris the only player with more than a hit as he finished 2 for 4. Their pitching dominated most of the game until reliever Oscar Villarreal was awarded a blown save for giving up the tying run, followed by the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

On the other side of the diamond the Dominican Republic managed eight hits led by lead-off hitter Leury Garcia, who finished 2 for 5, with a run scored, a double and an RBI and is now batting .615 in the Series. Even though they would give Mexico an early lead, the DR pitching staff were near perfect as their starter Parker Frazier threw five innings, allowing four hits, one unearned run while striking four batters.

Next Up:

Undefeated Venezuela (3-0) will face defending champ Mexico (2-1) in the early game on Friday at 12:05 pm. The Dominican Republic looks to stay in the running for the top seed in Saturday’s semi-final round as they play Puerto Rico (0-3) at 6:30 pm.

(Photo Credit: Ricardo Arduengo/AP)

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