What Happened: Venezuela got a solid pitching performance from Felix Hernandez and even better work from four relievers to shut out Puerto Rico 2-0 to earn a spot in the semifinals. Cuba stayed alive with a 7-4 win over Mexico in an elimination game.
The Stars: Hernandez struck out seven, although he did allow four walks and four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Venezuelan relievers Carlos Vasquez, Enrique Hernandez, Ramon Ramirez and Felix Rodriguez combined to allow only one hit in the final 4 1/3 innings. Ramon Hernandez homered for Venezuela.
Cuban left fielder Frederich Cepeda’s bases-clearing double in the fifth blew open what had been a close game. Pedro Luis Lazo came in to relieve Cuban starter Norge Vera after Vera suffered a leg cramp. Lazo struck out six while allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings to pick up the save. Jorge Cantu went 2-for-4 with a home run for Mexico.
The Prospects: Cepeda, 28, reinforced his status as one of the best hitters not playing in the big leagues with his 3-for-4 night. His 23-year-old teammate Yoennis Cespedes tripled while also showing off his plus arm in right field.
Coming Up: With their win, Cuba will now play the loser of tonight’s South Korea-Japan game for a spot in the semifinals. Puerto Rico now faces the U.S. tonight at 7 p.m. for a spot in the semifinals.
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