Solid pitching leads Venezuela to emotional win against Colombia

Solid pitching leads Venezuela to emotional win against Colombia
25/09/2021
Four pitchers limited Colombia to four hits. Starter Jesus Vargas pitcher five, solid innings. Closer Luis Curvelo earned a four-out save.

In the only matchup of two unbeaten after the first day of Group B play, runs were at a premium. Venezuela had just enough.

World No. 10 Venezuela outlasted No. 15 Colombia, 3-2, to wrap up the second day of Opening Round action at Estadio Sonora in Hermosillo on Friday night.

Venezuela and Colombia went scoreless into the fourth inning after combining for just two singles through the game’s first three frames. In the fourth, Venezuela finally broke through. Jesús Lujano and Robert Pérez singled with one out before Romer Cuadrado’s walk that loaded the bases. Justin López followed with a grounder to second that plated Lujano while retiring Cuadrado at second. After a pitching change, Juan Fernández singled down the right-field line to plate Pérez and give Venezuela a 2-0 lead.

Colombia closed the gap with a run in the bottom of the fifth when Dayan Frias doubled with two outs to cash in Leandro Emiliani’s leadoff walk. After Venezuela responded with a run on a Cuadrado RBI single to drive in Perez in the top of the sixth, Colombia reclaimed the run in the bottom of the inning on Andres Angulo’s RBI groundout to score Fabian Pertuz.

The 3-2 margin carried the game to the bottom of the seventh where Colombia threatened to overcome it. Jesus Marriaga led off with a walk and went to second when Luis Castro reached on a missed catch error on his attempted sacrifice bunt to third. After Frias sacrificed the pair to scoring position, however, Colombia fell short. Venezuela’s Luis Curvelo got Bryan Buelvas to pop out to first and struck out Fabian Pertuz for the final out of the game.

Venezuela is Group B’s lone remaining unbeaten team after two days of play as it looks to take the next step from the II U-23 Baseball World Cup in 2018 when the nation claimed bronze. On Saturday, Venezuela will face 1-1 Nicaragua in the night game from 19:30 while Colombia matches up with the Netherlands at 15:00.