Sunday, February 5, 2012

VALENCIA DOUBLE PACES OBREGON WIN OVER ARAGUA

Carlos Valencia (pictured) sliced a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning to put Obregon ahead to stay as the Yaquis scored a 4-2 comeback win over Venezuela’s Aragua Tigres Saturday in the 2012 Caribbean Series. The win gives Obregon a 2-1 record after three games in the double round-robin tournament at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Tigres took an early 1-0 lead when Cesar Suarez laid down a two-out bunt single in the top of the first inning that Yaquis pitcher Rolando Valdez threw past first baseman Sergio Contreras, allowing Suarez to advance to second. Adonis Garcia followed up with a single to center field on which Suarez was able to come around to score the game’s first run.

The two teams then swapped zeros until Obregon tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Iker Franco lined a two-out double to left and then scored on a Contreras single. Aragua pulled into a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth when Guillermo Rodriguez came in from third on a Suarez grounder to third sacker Agustin Murillo, who threw to second to force Miguel Rojas.

In the pivotal bottom of the sixth, Chris Roberson led off with a bunt single for the Yaquis and moved to second on a bad throw by Aragua first baseman Hector Jimenez. Alfredo Amezaga then put down a sacrifice bunt that drew an error on the throw by Tigres pitcher Brian Sweeney, allowing Amezaga to arrive safely at first with Roberson advancing to third. Roberson then scored on Karim Garcia’s ground out while Amezaga scooted to second. Then, a Barbaro Canizares grounder to third baseman Luis Maza drew Aragua’s third throwing error of the inning, putting Canizares safe on first. Doug Clark then drew a walk from Sweeney, who was replaced on the mound by Pedro Rodriguez with the bases loaded.

The first batter Rodriguez faced was Valencia, who drilled a 2-0 to left for a double, scoring Amezaga and Canizares with the go-ahead runs. It was then left to Valdez and three relievers to shut out Aragua the rest of the way to seal the deal for the Yaquis.

After allowing that first inning tally, Valdez settled down to end up with seven strong innings for the win, allowing two unearned runs, striking out five Tigres hitters and walking none. Luis Ayala struggled through the ninth, allowing two late singles, but settled down to hold Aragua scoreless for his second save of the CS. The Yaquis collected seven hits for the game, including two safeties for Franco, but this was a game that hinged largely on the combined five errors among the two combatants, each of which led to a run being scored.

Obregon next takes on Dominican champion Escogido, who come into Sunday night’s game unbeaten at 3-0, meaning a Yaquis victory would create a tie at the top of the CS standings. Aragua takes an 0-3 mark into their afternoon contest against 1-2 Puerto Rican titlists Mayaguez.