Dominican Republic Edges Nicaragua On Second Day of Caribbean Series

Jairus Richards of the Gigantes de Rivas of Nicaragua runs to first base in the third inning during a game between Dominican Republic and Nicaragua at loanDepot park as part of Serie del Caribe 2024 on February 2, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)

By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network

MIAMI – For the second day, Nicaragua held their own with one of the powers of Caribbean baseball, only to fall just short of a major upset.

Nicaragua fell 5-4 to the Dominican Republic on day two of the Caribbean Series, falling to 0-2, while the Dominican Republic improved to 1-1 with a 5-4 come-from-behind win at loanDepot Park.

Jairus Richards got Nicaragua on the board in the bottom of the first when he singled to right, stole second and third, and then scooted home when the throw to third from Dominican catcher Webster Rivas went into left field.

Dawel Lugo answered for the Dominican Republic in The top of the second, scoring from third when Leury Garcia grounded out to first.

Chelsie Cuthbert’s RBI single to left in the bottom of the fourth scored Francisco Peguero from second, giving Nicaragua a 2-1 lead. The next batter, Melvin Novoa, grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Raudy Read broke from third and was was tagged out on the bases like a nincompoop when he was caught in a rundown and tagged by Rivas halfway down the third base line. Omar Mendoza followed with a single to right that scored Cuthbert for a 3-1 Nicaragua lead.

In the top of the fifth, Emilio Bonifacio cut the lead to 3-2 when he scored on a fielder’s choice by Ramon Hernandez.

And then, in the bottom of the inning, loanDepot Park exploded in a sea of blue and white when Nicaragua’s Emmanuel Garcia launched a solo homer into the night club behind the left field fence, giving Nicaragua a 4-2 lead.

The Dominican Republic cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the seventh with an RBI single from Hector Rodriguez that scored Robinson Cano. With runners at second and third and one out, Dawel Lugo hit a weak over to second that was caught by Emmanuel Garcia for the second out, and then Junior Lake fanned on a 2-2 cutter from Osman Gutierrez to end the inning.

A triple by Emilio Bonifacio in the top of the eighth scored Sergio Alcantara to tie the game. With two outs, Nicaragua issued an intentional walk to Robinson Cano. The next batter, Ramon Hernandez, hit a hot grounder towards right, and Nicaragua second baseman Bejanmin Alegria dove to his left, knocking it down, but was unable to get the ball to first in time, allowing Bonifacio to score the go-ahead run.

Nicaragua never threatened in the final two innings.

Had Nicaragua won, it would possibly have been the single biggest moment in Nicaraguan baseball since Dennis Martinez threw a perfect game for the Montreal Expos against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991.

And though they did not pull off the upset, two games into their first Caribbean Series, Nicaragua has already shown that they belong on this stage, playing against the powers of Caribbean baseball.

They’ll have Saturday off before returning to face Panama at loanDepot Park at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. The Dominican Republic will play Puerto Rico at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night.

The 2024 Caribbean Series can be viewed on ESPN+ and on ESPN Deportes in the United States.

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