Matthew Tallarini, Chief Correspondent, World Baseball Network

7:00 PM EST

Colombia, the reigning bronze medalist nation from the 2020 U23 World Cup, is still looking to capture its first win against super-round opponents during the U23 WBSC World Cup.  Led by manager Jorge Cortes, the team went 3-2 in the Opening Round.  Fifth-ranked Mexico has been playing consistent baseball since the start of the U23 WBSC World Cup under manager Jose Garcia and they went 2-3 in the opening round.

Starting the Super Round, Mexico has the edge with a 2-1 record in the U23 against qualified teams in group play.   Mexico had Alemao Hernandez start against the Colombia offense.  Meanwhile, Colombia would look for Javier Chavez to take down the top-seeded Mexico ball club.    

The first batter of the game, Colombian starting outfielder Bryan Buelvas would rip a double down the left field line right out of the gate.  Alemao would eventually get the next three batters of the inning with no harm to Mexico.  During the bottom of the first inning, Javier Chavez would face LF Angel Rodriguez to lead off the Mexico offense.  Angel Rodriguez would sit back in the box and drive a single to right field to start the inning for Mexico.  Chavez would eventually get the next two batters until catcher Brandon Gerrardo would place a single up the middle to put men on first and second. The next batter would be RF Oliver Beltran, who worked a full-count walk to load the bases for Mexico with two outs.  A few moments later, DH Hugo Sanchez would strike out swinging to end the threatening inning for Mexico.  

During Hernandez’s second inning of work, 3B Branlyn Jaraba would drive a single up the middle. The next batter would be LF Daniel Rodriguez, who would lay a sacrifice bunt down to move Jaraba to second base with one out.  DH Jorge Chavez would go up to the plate looking to capitalize first for the Colombia offense.  In the middle of Chavez’s at-bat, Jaraba would advance on a wild pitch to third base with the game’s first run just 90 feet away.  Chavez would eventually make contact on a ground ball to shortstop Hector Gonzalez. He then threw to first to record the second out of the inning as Jaraba came around to score for Colombia and give them a 1-0 lead. 

Colombia was forced to go to their bullpen early as Javier Chavez walked the first batter of the inning 3B Javier Sanchez on a full count.  Colombia then called upon Carlos Borja to prevent the Mexico offense from scoring.  Borja got Mexico out of the inning with CF Elmer Garibaldi grounding to first to end the inning.  Approaching Alemao’s third inning of work, SS Hector Martinez went up to the plate looking to keep the Colombia offense at ease as he reached on an error by left-fielder Jeovanny Rodriguez, getting to second base from the defensive miscue.  Bryan Buelvas would eventually lay down a sacrifice bunt to third base to move Rodriguez over to third as the first out of the inning.  The next batter, 2B Carlos Arroyo would, ground out to Mexico’s shortstop, allowing Hector Martinez to score for Colombia’s 2-0 lead.   Mexico would have to go to the bullpen for Ricardo Garza to stop the bleeding from the Colombia offense.  Mexico’s starting pitcher, Hernandez, would go 2 2/3 innings pitched with three hits allowed, one earned run, one walk, and no strikeouts during his performance.  Garza would eventually get Branlyn Jaraba to pop out to first base for the final out of the top of the third. 

Entering the top of the fourth inning, Colombia would look to add more insurance as Daniel Rodriguez drives a double to right center field. The next batter would be Jorge Chavez, who placed a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher to move Rodriguez to third base for the first out of the inning.  A few moments later, Yamil Castillo would replace pitcher Ricardo Garza after his 2/3 innings of work.  Garza would allow one hit and one earned run during his relief appearance.  Castillo’s first batter in relief would be Roger Caraballo during the fourth.  Caraballo hit a sacrifice fly to center field, and Daniel Rodriguez would come around to score for Colombia as they took a 3-0 lead.  Borja would enter his third inning of work out of the bullpen in the bottom of the fourth.  RF Oliver Carrillo would lead off the inning with a single to center for Mexico.  The next batter would be Hugo Sanchez, who placed a sacrifice bunt just in front of home plate for the catcher Jair Camargo to make the out at first, letting Carrillo advance to second.  3B Javier Sanchez would come to the plate looking to put Mexico on the board.  Sanchez sat back and drove a single to right center field as Oliver Carrillo would score the first run for Mexico as Colombia’s lead was just cut to two runs making it 3-1 in the fourth.  Eventually, Borja did not have any harm done to him as he got Jeovanny Rodriguez to ground out to third base for the final out of the inning. 

Carlos Borja would be done after pitching three innings of relief.  Borja would allow four hits, one earned run, and two strikeouts during his relief appearance.  Jose Cano would enter the game in the fifth inning in an attempt to keep the score at 3-1. The first batter of the inning would be Jose Hernandez, who drew a full-count walk to start the fifth.  A few moments later, catcher Brandon Gerardo placed a single to right field as Hernandez advanced to second. The next batter was RF Oliver Beltran, who reached base on an error from third basemen Branlyn Jaraba. This allowed Mexico to get in position with bases loaded and one out.  Ortega Nunez would enter the game as a pinch hitter replacing Hugo Sanchez as he drew a full count walk resulting in Jose Hernandez scoring to cut the lead for Colombia at one with the score at 3-2.  Javier Sanchez followed up with a 3-1 walk with the bases loaded to tie the game up at 3. Colombia would have to go to the bullpen again as Dahan Segovia entered the game to replace Jose Cano.  He only pitched 1/3 of an inning, allowing one hit, two earned runs, and three walks.  1B Christopher Martinez dug to the plate, looking to help Mexico capture its first lead.  In the middle of Martinez’s at-bat, Oliver Beltran scored on a wild pitch giving Mexico a 4-3 lead during the bottom of the fifth.  Martinez eventually struck out on a full count for the second out of the inning.     

No runs were scored by Mexico’s and Colombia’s offense going forward. Mexico would have relief pitcher Nestor Serna enter the game in the sixth to hold for a six out save.  Serna would record the first two outs of the seventh with no harm done as he got Roger Carballo to fly out to left and Hector Martinez to ground out to short to start the inning.  Next batter, Bryan Buelvas, would reach on a throwing error from shortstop Hector Gonzalez to keep Colombia’s hopes alive.  A few moments later, Serna would give Carlos Arroyo to ground out on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop Martinez as he threw to second for the final out of the game, giving Mexico a 4-3 win in the first game of the Super Round.  Colombia’s second Super Round game will be against Australia at 10:00 AM local time in Taipei City.  Mexico will look for their second win of the super round as they will face Chinese Taipei at 7:00 local time in Taipei City.