The Naranjeros opened their CS schedule with a resounding 7-2 win over Caracas on February 2. Starter Pablo Ortega combined with three relievers to scatter two runs on seven hits, but it was a four-run fourth inning outburst that put the game in the hip pocket for the Mexicans. Consecutive doubles by Chris Roberson, Nelson Teilon and Vinny Castilla (pictured) helped put the score at 5-0 and the Naranjeros never looked back.
Hermosillo’s opening win was followed by two losses. The Naranjeros were clubbed by Dominican champion Escogido, 7-1, on February 3 as Leones starter Nelson Figueroa allowed just three hits, including a solo homer by Carlos Valencia in the eighth inning. Then Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez Indios scored three runs in the first inning en route to a 5-3 win over Hermosillo on February 4. Roberson had a single and double, but the Naranjeros just couldn’t put a comeback together. Roberson led Hermosillo batters with a .333 average.
The Orangemen then took a game from the Venezuelans once more on February 5, winning 3-2 in ten innings as Castilla singled home Heber Gomez with the deciding run in the bottom of the frame. Karim Garcia collected two hits, including a solo homer.
Hermosillo was officially knocked out of contention February 6 with a 7-2 loss to Escogido. Leones starter Heath Phillips, who has pitched in the Mex Pac, turned in seven strong innings and let in two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts. Luis Alfonso Garcia crashed a two-run homer in the first, but Phillips shut down the Naranjeros from that point on.
The Naranjeros dropped their final CS game on February 7, losing to Mayaguez, 8-2, as Jesus Feliciano and Angel Sanchez each went 3-for-4 and Armando Rios had two doubles with three RBIs for the Indios. Luis Cruz hit a two-run homer for Hermosillo.