Mexico close to perfection, beats Cuba, earns first win of U-23 Baseball World Cup
Starting pitchers Alemao Hernández and Bryan Chi were perfect for three innings. The first hit of the night, a solo homer by Fabricio Macías, set the tone for the hosts.
After a disappointing defeat on opening night, the reigning U-23 World Champion, Mexico, picked up its first win of the tournament on Friday night, defeating Cuba 5-0 at Estadio Yaquis in Ciudad Obregón. The game was much closer than the final score would indicate. The starting pitchers - Cuba’s Brian Chi and Mexico’s Alemao Hernández - matched each other zero for zero through the first three innings before Mexico got on the board in the top of the fourth.
Fabricio Macias, Mexico’s leadoff man, blasted the first pitch of the inning over the wall in left to put his team in front for the first time in the tournament. Macías would come around to score again two innings later on a Tirso Ornelas two-out single into right. That sixth inning hit knocked Chi out of the game.
Hernández came out to start the bottom of the sixth for México, but was lifted after striking out Loidel Chapellí. Reliever Herrera Hernández yielded a two-out double to Rangel Ramos, but got out of the inning unscathed.
México added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh and Rabago Robles retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory.
Macías and Agustín Ruíz led the Mexican offense with two hits each, while Reivaj García was the only player to drive in two runs for the victors.
Alemao Hernández was simply dominant, throwing 50 of his 68 pitches for strikes, and giving up just two hits in his 5.1 innings of work. He struck out four without walking a batter. Chi, who pitched for Cuba at the Americas Olympic Qualifier earlier this summer, fanned six without walking a batter in his 5.2 innings of work.
There was not a single walk issued by either side in the contest.
México heads into a showdown with the Dominican Republic on Saturday night, while Cuba will face a tough task taking on the only 2-0 team in Group A – Chinese Taipei – on Saturday afternoon at Estadio Yaquis.