By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
Venezuela has captured the No. 2 seed in the Caribbean Series semifinals with their win over Colombia Thursday. They will again face No. 3 seed Colombia, who will be the visiting team following the loss on Wednesday, in the early semifinal on Thursday.
Colombia fell behind by three runs in the second inning when Francisco Jimenez, the Colombia starting pitcher, could not work his way out of trouble. Jimenez walked two batters to start off the second inning, and both of those runners would come in to score on a double by Francisco Arcia and a two-run single from Ali Castillo.
Colombia scored their first run in the bottom of the second with a single from Fabian Pertuz. Dilson Herrera, who doubled earlier in the inning, scored the run to make it a 3-1 ballgame. In just 2.1 innings, Jimenez allowed five earned runs on five hits.
Danry Vasquez led off the top of the third inning for Venezuela with a leadoff single. Two hitters later, Oswaldo Arcia doubled to move him to third. Colombia relief pitcher Hernando Mejia could not settle down and walked the next two batters, and four total in his outing. Danry Vasquez came in to score on the bases-loaded walk, and Oswaldo Arcia would score on a RBI groundout by his brother and Atlanta Braves infielder Orlando Arcia. The score would remain 5-1 in favor of Venezuela until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Pabel Manzanero kept Colombia in the game with a leadoff double in the fifth inning. The following batters were able to manufacture a run, with Dayan Frias grounding out to first, moving Manzanero to third. Francisco Acuna would line a single to center field, scoring Manzanero and cutting the Venezuela lead to three.
Venezuela starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin proved to MLB teams that he deserves a spring training non-roster invite. The 14-year MLB veteran looked like his young self when he started his career with the Colorado Rockies. Chacin threw five strong innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Colombia cut the lead down to 5-4 in the sixth inning with a pair of doubles from Fabian Pertuz and Pabel Manzanero. The big hit came off the bat of Manzanero, who drove both runs in. Pertuz and Dilson Herrera, who beat out what figured to be a routine double-play to reach first, scored on the hit.
In the ninth, Venezuela padded their lead with two more runs. Walking batters continued to be a problem for the Colombia pitching staff, as both Danry Vasquez and Oswaldo Arcia reached base on balls. Jose Rodon would take advantage of Jhon Peluffo losing the zone with a two-run single, driving in Vasquez and Hernan Perez, who also singled in the inning.With a 7-4 lead, Venezuela closer Anthony Vizcaya came in to shut the door. He finished the game with no trouble, and officially sent his team to the semifinal.
Colombia’s Vaqueros De Monteria will play Leones De Caracas at 6:30 p.m. EST Estadio De La Rinconada. Dominican Republic’s Tigres Del Licey, who yesterday beat Curacao 6-2 to punch their ticket as the fourth seed will meet Mexico at 2:30 p.m. EST at at Estadio Forum La Guaira. Every game of the 2023 Caribbean Series is available via ESPN Deportes and streamed online on ESPN+.
Friday, February 10
Caribbean Series Third Place Game & Championship Schedule
All games on ESPN Deportes.
Third Place Game – 2:30 p.m EST – Estadio De La Rinconada
Championship Game – 6:30 p.m EST – Estadio de la Rinconada