Hendrik Clementina hit a three-run homer for Curazao against Nicaragua. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
MIAMI – The Curacao Suns of the Curacao Professional Baseball League beat Nicaragua on Monday 6-3 to improve to .500 at 2-2 at the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park in Miami.
Nicaragua dropped to 0-4 at the 2024 Caribbean with Monday’s loss.
Curacao starting pitcher Shairon Martis faced 30 batters, throwing eight innings with 98 pitches. Martis recorded the win and allowed four hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out three. Relief pitchers Anthony Herrera and Kevin Kelly combined allowed three hits and one earned run in Monday’s win.
During the top of the second inning, Nicaragua designated hitter Elian Miranda roped a double to left center, scoring right fielder Francisco Peguero to make it 1-0.
In the top of the second inning, Nicaragua added another when Peguero laced a ground-rule double over the left field wall, scoring Emmanuel Garcia to extend the lead to 2-0.
Curacao’s Sharlon Schoop hit into a fielder’s choice at shortstop in the fourth, scoring center fielder Jurickson Profar to cut the lead to one at 2-1.
A few batters later, Curacao added two more when designated hitter Juremi Profar roped a two-run single to left field, scoring Wladimir Balentien and Sharlon Schoop to take a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Curacao’s Hendrick Clementina launched a three-run home run over the left field wall, scoring third baseman Didi Gregorious and Sharlon Schoop to extend the lead to 6-2.
Martis held his composure and kept the Nicaragua offense the rest quiet of the way to help Curacao get the win.
Kelly came out of the bullpen with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and got Nicaragua second baseman Jesus Lopez to ground out to short to end the game, as Curacao beat Nicaragua 6-3 on the fifth day of the 2024 Caribbean Series.
Nicaragua manager Marvin Benard’s pitching staff threw eight innings and allowed nine hits, six earned runs, three walks, and struck out seven. Nicaragua starting pitcher Pedro Torrez took the loss on Monday and threw 3.2 innings, allowing four hits, three earned runs, two walks and struck out four.
The last time Curacao played Nicaragua in a club tournament was at the 2018 Latin American Series in group play, when the Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional 2017-18 champion Tigres de Chinandega beat the Curacao AA League champion Wild KJ74 in group play 6-5 at Estadio Nacional Soberania in Managua, Nicaragua.
Nicaragua has not won a club tournament since the 2019 Latin American Series, when the 2018-19 LBPN champion Leones de Leon beat the 2018-19 Liga Invernal Veracruzana champion Tobias de Acayucan in the championship game 3-1 at Estadio Universitario Beto Avila in Veracruz, Mexico.
Curacao is participating in its third club tournament in its nation’s history, and could not participate in the 2019 Latin American Series due to financial issues with their 2018-2019 AA League champion the Santa Marta Pirates, who were supposed to play in the event.
Curacao has participated in the 2018 Latin American Series and 2023 Caribbean Series in Caracas, Venezuela, prior to the 2024 tournament in Miami.
Nicaragua will play their fifth game of the 2024 Caribbean Series on Feb. 5 against the Naranjeros de Hermosillo (1-3) of Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico at 10:30 a.m. EST on ESPN+. The Curacao Suns will play the Tigres del Licey of LIDOM at 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN+. All of the 2024 Caribbean Series games wil be televised on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ until the final out of the championship game on Feb. 9.