Pitcher Wilmer Rios (L ) of the Naranjeros de Hermosillo of Mexico serves as a bat boy with teammate Aaron Altherr (R) during a game between Mexico and Nicaragua at loanDepot Park as part of Serie del Caribe 2024 on February 6, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
MIAMI – The Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacifico beat Nicaragua 5-2 in their final game at the 2024 Caribbean Series in Miami at loanDepot Park.
Mexico was eliminated and finished the tournament with their record of 2-4. Nicaragua is still winless at the 2024 Caribbean Series with a record of 0-5.
Nicaragua’s offense had five hits during Tuesday’s loss.
The Naranjeros de Hermosillo got on the board in the top of the first inning when left fielder Aaron Altherr launched a two-run home run into the empty seats over the bullpen in left field, scoring designated hitter Roberto Valenzuela to put Mexico up 2-0.
In the top of the third inning, the Mexico offense added another run to the board when third baseman Agustin Murillo hit an RBI single to left field, sending Altherr in to score to extend the lead to 3-0.
Nicaragua manager Marvin Benard lifted starting pitcher Luis Ramirez and called on relief pitcher Leonardo Crawford. Ramirez threw 2.1 innings, allowing six hits, five earned runs, two walks, and one strikeout through 73 pitches.
The next batter, shortstop Juan Carlos Gamboa roped a single to left field, scoring first baseman Bobby Bradley to make it 4-0. A few batters later, catcher Sergio Burruel hit a line drive single to right field, scoring Murrillo for the fifth run of the game.
Naranjeros de Hermosillo starting pitcher Manny Barreda threw 71 pitches in five innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts.
The only earned run Barreda allowed in Tuesday’s game was on a double steal. As catcher Melvin Novoa attempted to steal second base, left fielder Norlando Valle took off from third and stole home during designated hitter Elian Miranda’s at-bat.
Valle was the only player for Nicaragua with two hits during Tuesday’s loss, and he recorded an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning that scored center fielder Jarius Richards to make it 5-2.
Mexico relief pitcher Luis Marquez came into the bottom of the ninth inning and replaced relief pitcher Jose Samayoa and retired the side in order 1-2-3, getting Miranda to strikeout swinging for the final out of the game to beat Nicaragua 5-2.
Nicaragua’s pitching staff allowed 13 hits, five earned runs, seven walks and two strikeouts during Tuesday’s loss.
Mexico’s pitching staff allowed five hits, two earned runs, one walk and struck out eight during their final game of the 2024 Caribbean Series.
Mexico has not won the Caribbean Series since 2016, when the tournament was played at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Venados de Mazatlán beat the Tigres de Aragua of the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional 5-4 in the championship game that year.
Nicaragua has not won a game in a club tournament since the 2019 Latin American Series, when the 2018-19 Liga de Béisbol Profesional Nacional champion Leones de Leon beat the 2018-2019 Liga Invernal Veracruzana champion Tobis de Acayucan in the championship game 3-1. The Leones de Leon went undefeated during the 2019 Latin American Series with a 5-0 record in that event’s final year.
Nicaragua will play their last game of the 2024 Caribbean Series on Feb. 7 at loanDepot Park in Miami against the Tiburones de La Guaira of the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional at 8:30 p.m. EST on ESPN+. All of the 2024 Caribbean Series games are televised on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ until the final out of the championship game on Feb. 9.