Solis homer sends Mexico to Super Round in Japan

Solis homer sends Mexico to Super Round in Japan
04/11/2019
Mexico advanced to the Super Round, to be held in Tokyo, Japan, from 11-13 November

Mexico earned a historic triumph today in Guadalajara against USA, 8-2, and became the first nation to qualify for the Super Round of the Premier12 2019. Ali Solis hit a three-run shot in the eighth inning to secure the win, as Mexico's pitching staff held USA to only two runs.

In the top of the first inning, Christian Villanueva gave Mexico the early lead with an RBI single to center field. Jonathan Jones was hit with the very first pitch of the game, and Juan Perez followed with a single. Both runners advanced on a grounder by Esteban Quiroz to first base and scored on Villanueva's single.

USA tied the game with a pair of solo homers in consecutive innings. In the bottom of the third veteran catcher Erik Kratz connected an opposite-field homer to make it 2-1. And one inning later Bobby Dalbec rocketed a homer to center field to tie the game at two.

In the top of the fifth, Mexico retook the lead. Noah Perio and Javier Salazar hit back to back singles to open the inning, leaving runners in the corners with no outs. Tanner Houck fanned Jonathan Jones, and manager Scott Brosius bring to the mound the left-handed pitcher Daniel Tillo to face the Mexican lefties Juan Perez and Esteban Quiroz. The reliever struck out Perez in three pitches, but then a passed ball allowed Perio to score the go-ahead run from third. Tillo fanned Quiroz to end the inning.

It remained a one-run ballgame until the top of the eighth inning, when Mexico exploded with five runs, including a 3-run homer by catcher Ali Solis, to secure the victory.

"With runners on base, I knew the importance of scoring more runs," said Solis in the press conference.

"I was really trying to plate only the runner on third, and luckily the ball left the park".

Starter Horacio Ramirez lasted three innings and was responsible of the two US runs. The winning pitcher was Felipe Gonzalez, who worked 1.2 scoreless innings with two hits and three strikeouts. The Mexican bullpen didn't allow a run in six innings of work.

"I'm really, really happy for this second win, especially against a great team like USA," said Mexican skipper Juan Gabriel Castro.

"The 28 players of this team are the key. I'm very proud of them and their approach to the tournament."

With this victory, Mexico (2-0) is the first team qualified to the Super Round in Japan. Tomorrow, USA (1-1) and Dominican Republic (1-1) will play with the second ticket to Japan at stake.