Puerto Rico’s De la Torre walks it off in extra innings to beat Mexico

After a 1-1 game, Mexico scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth. Reliever Nestor Anguamea came within two strikes from the win, then Puerto Rico’s DH got the winning swing.

Puerto Rico’s designated hitter Ricardo de la Torre did not have his best swing on a 0-1 offering by Mexico’s reliever Nestor Anguamea, but centre fielder Elmer Lopez chased the blooper and his diving attempt fell short as the tie-break runners scored to give the boricuas a 3-2 comeback win on Monday.

Puerto Rico stayed undefeated with a 2-0 win card, while Mexico dropped to 2-1 in Group B of the IV WBSC U-23 Baseball World Cup.

The game started as a pitching duel between starters Bryan Marrero and Jordan Suarez, who worked four scoreless innings in less than 45 minutes.

In the bottom of the fifth, Puerto Rico’s second baseman Kenen Irizarry doubled off Suarez and scored on a single up the middle by left fielder Glenn Santiago.

Mexico came right back in the top of the sixth, as centre fielder Elmer Lopez singled, stole second, reached third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Angel Camacho.

Relievers Osvaldo Barrios and Manuel Castro took the game to extra innings.

Barrios struck out the first two batters he faced in the eighth. Second baseman Jose Zepeda got to him with a sharp grounder up the middle, but Puerto Rico’s shortstop Dilan Otero stopped it, holding Javier Sanchez at third. The lead tie-break runner scored on a wild pitch.

Nestor Anguamea took the mound for Mexico in the bottom half of the frame. Santiago advanced the tie-break runners on a bunt, until Mexico walked leadoff hitter Ezequiel Pagan.

With the bases loaded, DH Ricardo de la Torre looked at one strike, then swung on the second pitch sending a blooper to shallow centre field. Lopez rushed to the ball and dove for the catch but came a couple of inches short, allowing the tie-break runners to score and secure the win for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico will face Korea on Tuesday at 13.00 local time , while Mexico will play Cuba at 10.00.