Ramón Flores of Tiburones de la Guaira of Venezuela celebrates home run in the first inning, during a game between Venezuela and Curacao at loanDepot park as part of Serie del Caribe 2024 on February 3, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
MIAMI – Venezuela beat Curacao 4-2 on the third day of the 2024 Caribbean Series on Saturday in Miami at loanDepot Park.
The Tiburones de La Guaira of the Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional improved to 2-0 at the 2024 Caribbean Series. The Curacao Suns fell to 1-2 with the loss.
The Tiburones have not started out 2-0 at the Caribbean Series in their four prior appearances at the event in 1971, 1983, 1985, and 1986.
The Tiburones de La Guaira got on the board in the top of the first inning beginning with lead-off hitter center fielder Alex Amarista laid a bunt single down the third base side and reached first base safely. Moments later, Venezuela right fielder Ramon Flores crushed a two-run home run into the right field seats for a 2-0 Venezuela lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Curaçao Suns got on the scoreboard when second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit a ground ball to shortstop Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza threw over to first base, and Wladimir Balentien came in to score to cut the lead to 2-1.
During the top of the third inning, Venezuela added another run when Yasiel Puig drew a full-count bases-loaded walk, scoring Adrianza to extend the lead to 3-1.
Curaçao Suns manager Hainley Statia then called upon relief pitcher Alison Rodriguez to replace starter Scott Prins. Prins threw 2.1 innings, allowing three hits, four earned runs, one walk, and three strikeouts.
The next batter, Venezuela designated hitter Wilson Ramos, hit into a fielder’s choice. Curaçao shortstop Andrelton Simmons tossed the ball to Schoop, who attempted to throw to first base to get Ramos for the double play. Ramos was called out, and it would have been the final out of the inning, but the call was overturned after a review, and right fielder Wilfredo Tovar’s run counted to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of third inning, Curaçao cut the lead in half with catcher Hendrick Clementina coming into score on a wild pitch during Simmons at-bat for their second run of the game.
Venezuela’s pitching staff allowed six hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out six in their second win of the 2024 Caribbean Series.
The Curacao Suns pitching staff allowed seven hits, four earned runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts during Saturday’s loss.
Tiburones de La Guaira starting pitcher Luis Martinez was composed against the Curaçao offense. Martinez Martinez threw five innings with 88 pitches, allowing three hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out two before being replaced by Angel Padro.
Curacao relief pitcher Franklin Van Gurp pitched out of the bullpen, throwing 2.1 innings and quieting the Venezuelan offense. Van Gurp entered the game in the top of the sixth inning, replacing relief pitcher Wendell Floranus and allowed two hits and two strikeouts while throwing 36 pitches.
Venezuela relief pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and got Curacao first baseman Sharlon Schoop to fly out to Flores in right field for the final out to close out the win.
Curacao Suns second baseman Jonathan Schoop was the only player in Curacao’s offense with multiple strikeouts with three during their second loss of the tournament on Saturday.
The Curacao Suns will play on Feb. 5 against Nicaragua (0-2) at 10:30 a.m. EST on ESPN+. Venezuela will play Puerto Rico (2-0) at 3:30 p.m. EST on ESPN+. All games at the 2024 Caribbean Series will be televised on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ until the final out of the championship game on Friday, Feb. 9.