Saturday, February 08, 2014

Caribbean Series Update: Puerto Rico Outlasts Venezuela; Will Face Mexico In Final

Friday, Feb. 7th Semi-Final
Puerto Rico  2
Venezuela    0

Puerto Rico's Indios de Mayaguez outlasted the top seeded Venezuelan Navegantes de Magallanes Friday evening to gain a 2-0 victory, and advance into Saturday's Caribbean championship game against Mexico's Naranjeros de Hermosillo.

Pitcher Giancarlo Alvarado climbed the hill for los Indios, and was opposed by Daryl Thompson for los Navegantes.  Both starters traded zeroes through the first five innings.  Thompson allowed but a hit, and a pair of walks, while striking out three before being relieved after facing one batter in the sixth.  Alvarado completed six innings, allowed two hits, two walks, and struck out two, before likewise departing with a no-decision.

Puerto Rico finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the top of the eighth inning off reliever Hassan Pena, who walked the first two batters he faced.  A fielding error by Navegantes shortstop Eduardo Escobar then loaded the bases, and chased Pena from the game.  In to pitch came Jesus Martinez, who promptly allowed a single to Indios center fielder Eddie Rosario.  Pinch runner Luis Montanez was the first base runner to cross the plate, followed by pinch hitter Miguel Abreu, who reached safely on a walk.  Both unearned runs were charged to Hassan Pena, who suffered the loss.

Steve Smith pitched two innings in relief of Giancarlo Alvarado, allowed just one hit, and picked up the win for Mayaguez.  Tyler Herron was credited with the save.  Alvarado faced 22 batters, threw 92 pitches, with 56 going for strikes, for an effective rate of 61%.

Both teams were limited to just three hits apiece.  Navegantes left fielder Ezequiel Carrera was the lone player with multiple hits, but the top seeded Venezuelan team was 0-4 with runners on scoring position. Former Mets player, and center fielder for los Navegantes, Endy Chavez went 1 for 4 at the plate.

The final game is set.  #4 Puerto Rico versus #2 Mexico - On Saturday, los Indios de Mayaguez will face los Naranjeros de Hermosillo, for the 2014 Caribbean League championship.

Puerto Rico is attempting to capture their 15th Caribbean title, but it has been thirteen years since their last. Their most recent championship came back in 2000, while los Indios de Mayaguez, who claim two titles, last won the winter leagues championship back in 1992.

Mexico defeated los Tigres de Licey, of the Dominican circuit, on Thursday, to gain a berth in the final. Mexico, last season's Caribbean champion, will be seeking to repeat, and gain the nation's 8th title.  The Naranjeros lone championship came in 1976.  Mexico's recent success has been sustained for over a decade now.  They have won two of the last three tournaments, and four times since 2002.

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Caribbean Series
*     *     *     *
(Puerto Rico)
Isla de Margarita, Venezuela

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