The Aguilas Cibaenas celebrate their sweep at the Titanes del Caribe series at Citi Field in Flushing, New York. (Photo Courtesy of LIDOM)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
NEW YORK – The Aguilas Cibaenas took final game of the Titanes del caribe series, sweeping the three-game exhibition series with a 9-6 win over the Tigres del Licey.
The Aguilas Cibaenas pitching staff only allowed six earned runs during the three-game series in New York against their arch rival. The nine pitchers for Aguilas Cibaenas allowed 11 hits, six earned runs, six walks, and seven strikeouts.
The three games in New York do not count towards the LIDOM regular season standings.
In the bottom of the first inning, Aguilas got their offense rolling with two consecutive singles from lead-off hitter shortstop Christopher Morel and designated hitter Yadiel Hernandez.
A few moments later during Aguilas first baseman Elehuris Montero’s at-bat, Tigres starting pitcher Adrian Rodriguez’ pick-off attempt went past first baseman Michael de la Cruz and Morel scored the first run of the game.
Rodriguez did not record an out during the bottom of the first inning, walking the final three batters he faced, including a bases-loaded free pass to Gabriel Celestino that sent Hernandez came in to score to extend the lead to 2-0.
Relief pitcher Luis Peralta replaced Rodriguez during the bottom of the first inning, after the starter allowed two hits, five earned runs, and walked three batters.
The next batter, Aguilas second baseman Luis Valenzuela drew a bases-loaded walk and Montero came in to score to make it 3-0. Then Aguilas right fielder J.C. Perez got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and third baseman Cesar Prieto was pushed home for the fourth run of the game.
The Aguilas had three hits during their seven-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning with Licey’s pitching staff allowing six walks and one hit by pitch.
“In pregame, we talked about having an approach not to chase bad pitches, and if we take the approach, I know we can work counts when capitalizing on other pitchers’ mistakes. We want to maintain our approach of hitting and if teams want to pitch to us we will take the walks to work counts,” Aguilas manager Tony Pena stated during the postgame press conference.
Aguilas starting pitcher Tyler Viza threw three innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, two walks, and one strikeout.
Hernandez ended the day with one hit, one run scored, one walk, and one strikeout during in four at-bats.
Morel went 2-for-4 for the Aguilas with two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout on Sunday, and catcher Carlos Paulino homered in the bottom of the seventh. Prieto had one hit, one RBI, one walk, and struck out once.
Tigres del Licey designated hitter Miguel Andújar had three hits, three RBI, and one walk during Sunday’s loss, and center fielder Alen Hanson and first baseman Tristan English each had two runs and two hits on Sunday.
The Tigres pitching staff allowed nine hits, nine earned runs, six walks, and 11 strikeouts on Sunday.
The third game of the Titanes del Caribe exhibition series drew 32,536 fans to Citi Field on Sunday.
The Titanes del Caribes series drew 90,900 fans over three games at Citi Field this past weekend, where both franchises made their second appearance on United States soil during the LIDOM regular season. The first was at the Serie de Las Americas in Miami during the 2015-16 season.
The Titanes del Caribe event is the second championship title that Aguilas Cibaenas has won in an exhibition series during the middle of the regular season.
Licey is currently in second place during the 2023-24 regular season at 10-8 and are four games behind first place Gigantes del Cibao at 15-5.
Aguilas is in last place at 5-13 in the regular season.
Both franchises will return to the Dominican Republic after the three-game exhibition series to play each other on November 14 in Santiago at Estadio Cibao at 6:30 p.m. EST and on November 15 in Santo Domingo at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal at 6:45 p.m. EST.
NOTEBOOK: During the second game of the Titanes del Caribe event, the Federación Nacional de Peloteros Profesionales, which is the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball Players Union, had issues with the organizers of the event Cerro Music Group, Zamora Live, and Felix Cabrera Presents, alleging that they did not depositing the money right away on Saturday, which delayed the game from a 1 p.m. EST start to 2:05 p.m.
Before Sunday’s game, reporter Yancen Pujols of CDN Deportes reported, “Businessman Félix Cabrera, main promoter of Titanes del Caribe, says that yesterday’s situation with the players is not how it was reported. The players agreed in principle to have the money transferred to the [Dominican Republic,] then they said they wanted it here in cash. Cabrera stated Vitelio Mejia, Chilote Llenas and Junior Noboa were witnesses and that this was the agreement in principle. After the request of the players and their union, FENAPEPRO, it is not so easy to find $250,000 from one moment to the next in the United States.”
Felix Cabrera and Pedro Zamora are responsible for partnering with Cerro Music Group for the three games of the Titanes del Caribe series, along with allowing La Musica Presentan and Mega 97.9 FM Spanish music radio station in New York City to be the sponsors for the exhibition series at Citi Field.