Mexico outscored, 10-4, Venezuela to improve the record in the super round of the U-23 Baseball World Cup to 2-1 and become a more than legitimate contender for a spot in Sunday’s final. A six run sixth at bat, capped by a grand slam by Roberto Valenzuela, knocked Venezuela out.
The top of the sixth turned out to be a real nightmare for Venezuela. Mexico got to Miguel Burgos with a double by Orlando Piña. The reliever then walked Norberto Obeso and Mexico gave the call to Yosmer Solorzano. Things didn’t improve: the newcomer faced three batters, hit two and gave up a single to Marco Jaime before going to the showers. Jose Rodriguez, the third pitcher of the inning, threw one strike. Valenzuela was all over his second pitch and drove it into the left field bleachers.
“The grand slam is important because it helped the team win” said Roberto Valenzuela at the end of the game “You win as a team and you lose as a team, not as an individual.”
Valenzuela was quite clear about Mexico’s goal: “When you participate in a World Cup, you always start with the idea to win it all. This is what we are trying to do, keep winning and win it all.”
Luis Rodriguez earned the win for Mexico going 5.1 innings without allowing a walk. Venezuela scored on him two runs in the bottom of the fifth on a gigantic two-run homer by 20-year old New York Mets prospect Yoel Romero. For a moment, Venezuela felt they were back into the game. Just right after, came the sixth inning nightmare.
Mexico played some pretty good defense early in the game and committed a couple of errors later. They didn’t prove costly.
Before handing the ball to the power arms in the bullpen, Rafael Ordaz and Erick Casillas, middle reliever Alejandro Chavarria gave up two runs to Venezuela on a two-out, two-RBI single by Leandro Cedeño.
Venezuela wouldn’t score more. This was the first loss for Venezuela in the U-23 Baseball World Cup. Japan remains the only undefeated National Team at the top of the standings.