By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network
Jan. 13, 2023
Algodoneros de Guasave defeated Naranjeros de Hermosillo 4-3 on Thursday night in game 2 of the playoff semifinals in the Mexican Pacific League, squaring the series at one apiece.
Algodoneros wasted no time in the top of the first inning to get the scoring going, on a solo home run from shortstop Esteban Quiroz, his first of two home runs on the night.
Naranjeros answered back immediately in the bottom of the first with three runs of their own. Right fielder Nick Torres hit an RBI single and first baseman Luis Alfonso Cruz drove in two runs with a double.
The benches cleared in the first inning after Naranjeros left fielder Roel Santos was hit by a pitch on his left leg, and fired his bat in frustration. Players from both teams slowly made their way out of the dugouts to exchange words, but the disagreement lasted just a few minutes. Santos would leave the game due to injury.
The score would remain 3-1 in favor of Naranjeros until the top of the third.
Quiroz hit his second home run of the night in the third inning, when his two-run shot down the right field line to tie the game at 3. This was the second home run allowed by Naranjeros starter Elian Leyva, who is projected to be the number two starter for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic this March.
Leyva was replaced by lefty Luis Marquez in the seventh inning. He made quick work of Algodoneros, retiring the first three batters in order. Leyva threw six complete innings, and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six. Algodoneros starter Matt Pobereyko had a solid day on the mound. In six innings, he gave up three earned runs on three hits, while striking out four.
Algodoneros regained the lead in the top of the eighth inning on three consecutive singles. Right fielder Sebastian Elizalde picked up his first hit of the night with a single to right field to drive home the go ahead run and make it a 4-3 ballgame in favor of Algodoneros.
In the bottom of the ninth, Nick Torres ripped a leadoff single up the middle. Isaac Paredes grounded into a fielder’s choice to move Torres to second. Luis Alfonso Cruz followed Paredes with a fly out to right field, which allowed Torres to tag up to third as the tying run. With two outs and Torres on third, Irving Lopez flew out to center field to end the game, securing the 4-3 victory for Algodoneros.
The two teams will play game three on Saturday, January 14th at 7 p.m. EST.