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Curacao Romps to 7-1 Win Over Puerto Rico In Caribbean Cup Opening Game

 Matt Tallarini  |    Dec 23rd, 2022 9:57am EST

Curacao romped to victory in the first game 7-1 over Puerto Rico in the first game at the new Rodgers stadium, which replaced an older stadium with the same name on the same site.

Sixteenth-ranked Puerto Rico put starting pitcher Freddie Muniz on the mound against 44th-ranked Curacao’s high-powered offense in the tournament’s opening game. Jordan Lucas would take the mound for Curacao, who hope to repeat as Caribbean Cup champions, and earn a berth to the Central American and Caribbean Games 2023 in El Salvador. 

Curacao left-fielder Rayshelon Carolina would lead off the game and reach on an error by Puerto Rico third baseman Ricardo Rivera. Carolina advanced to second base on a delayed steal to himself in scoring position.  

And then, with the game less than two batters old, a 15-minute delay occurred during the game’s second at bat because Muniz’s metal cleats did not conform to rules for the turf field of Rodgers Stadium.  

After the cleat controversy was resolved, Jones drew a full-count walk. Shortstop Darren Seferina then singled to left field, with Carolina coming around to score Curacao’s first run of the ball game.  Jones would advance to third base on a bad throw from Curacao left fielder Jeffrey Dominguez. 

With first basemen Dudley Leonora at the plate, Jones would score on a passed ball as Curacao took a 2-0 lead during the bottom of the first inning.  Muniz would get Lenora to strike out later in his at-bat, then retire the next two batters to escape the inning.  

Center fielder Miguel Garcia led off the game for Puerto Rico with a bunt single down the third base line.  After Jordan Lucas gave up that hit, he was on cruise control, getting batters out consistently with ground ball and fly ball outs during the first few innings. 

Muniz would go four innings pitched with two hits allowed, striking out two batters, walking two batters, and the lone two runs earned during the first inning.  

Puerto Rico’s relief pitcher Oscar Cintron came on in the top of the fifth inning with Curacao looking to threaten for their third run of the ball game. Raysheandell Michel laced a triple into the left-center field gap to lead off the inning. The next batter, catcher Ulrich Snijders, walked on four pitches, putting runners at the corners with no outs.  Carolina would come up to the plate looking to extend Curacao’s lead as he struck out on three pitches for the first out of the inning.  

Jones grounded into a fielder’s choice, resulting in a questionable obstruction call on a take out slide by Snijders of the second basemen.  A few minutes later, the call was overturned, giving Curacao a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth.  No further harm would be done, as Cintron would get Seferina to pop up to shortstop Domiel Gonzalez for the final out of the inning.   

Puerto Rico manager Juan Gonzalez used his bullpen efficiently in the middle innings trying to keep the game in reach. 

In the ninth inning, Carolina reached for Curacao with a single to right field. Jones followed and drew a full-count walk to put runners at first and second. Seferina roped a single up the middle, scoring Carolina. Dudley Lenora singled to left, allowing Jones to score and making it 5-0. Second basemen Kay-Lan Nicasia followed with a single to right center,  scoring Seferin. Designated Hitter Swindley Lint roped a single up in the middle allowing Lenora to score the seventh run of the game for Curacao. 

 Jordan Lucas threw a complete game for Curacao, giving up six hits, one earned run, and one strikeout.  

Curacao will play the Bahamas tomorrow at 7 p.m. during the second day of the Caribbean Cup. Puerto Rico will play Cuba on Tuesday at 7 p.m. for their second game of the Caribbean Cup.