Caribbean Series 2015: Mexico defeats Dominican Republic; advances to third straight Final

By Michael Lecolant

Mexico is headed back to the Caribbean Series final for a third straight year, and for the fourth time in the last five.

They’ll be vying for the county’s 9th overall title.

2/7 – Caribbean Series 2015: Semifinal

  • Game One – (#3) Mexico defeated (#2) Dominican Republic; 5-4

The back-to-back reigning champions earned the opportunity to defend their Caribbean title by holding on for a narrow 5-4 victory over a resilient Dominican Republic.

In avenging their pool play loss to D.R., Mexico cruised through the first 5 1/2 innings of play.

After loading the bases with 1-out in the 2nd, a throwing error by Dominican third baseman Hector Gomez allowed 2 unearned runs to score.  Then a sac-fly scored a third unearned run.

In the top of the 3rd, DH Russell Branyan‘s RBI single gave Mexico a 4-0 lead.

Dominican Republic starter Elih Villanueva was relieved after just 2.2 innings of work, having allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and one walk.  Six Dominican relievers then combined to limit Mexico to just 3 hits and one earned run over 6.1 innings pitched, which almost made the difference.

In the top of the 6th, catcher Ali Solis‘ RBI double off Dominican reliever Zach Jackson gave Mexico a crucial insurance run, and a 5-0 lead.

Pitcher Terance Marin started for Mexico.  He finally yielded a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the 6th, but finished the inning.  He otherwise limited D.R. to 5 hits and one walk, and fanned five batters before exiting on the winning side.

In the bottom of the 8th, Hector Gomez‘ RBI double off Mexico reliever Gary Majewski made it a 5-3 game.

Mexico summoned closer Oscar Villarreal to pitch the 9th, but he hit the first batter he faced, and promptly surrendered a single (followed by an error on the play) to put both runners in scoring position.  Jay Jackson then relieved Villarreal.  A fielder’s choice allowed a run to score, but Jackson retired the next two batters to secure a 5-4 victory over the Dominican Republic.

Los Tomateros de Culiacan will be making their first Caribbean Series final appearance since 2002.

Cuba features no players with MLB affiliation.  Otherwise, Mexico has the fewest affiliated players among all of this year’s Caribbean Series participants.

Tonight’s other semifinal game pits undefeated Venezuela against the ever-dangerous contingent from Cuba.