SANTIAGO, D.R.–Licey’s undefeated Series run ended with one swing of the bat on Wednesday.
Mexico designated hitter Robert Saucedo launched a three-run blast in the top of the 10th inning to hand Licey (4-1) its first loss of the Series. It was Saucedo’s second home run of the game, after hitting just seven homers all winter for Mazatlan. The first came off Omar Beltre in the second inning, but the crushing blow came against Oneli Perez.
"He’s got power, but he’s a straight pull hitter," Mazatlan general manager Chino Valdez said. "Next to Vinny Castilla, he’s had the best power in Mexico the last few seasons. In Mexico, they know how to pitch him–soft away. The pitch from Perez was soft, but he left it in the middle of the zone. He can handle that pitch all day."
The victory also got Mexico (1-4) into the win column in this Series, though it’s only their second Caribbean Series win since 2005.
"Mexico’s been very bad in this tournament the past three seasons," Valdez said. "So to win this game at this stage in the tournament, it’s the equivalent of winning the World Series in Mexico. People there are going crazy right now."
Saucedo provided the cushion, but it was Mexico righthander Nelson Figueroa, who was a Licey killer all season for Aguilas, who slammed the door over the final 1 2/3 innings.
Now Aguilas (3-1) has a wide open door and needs to knock off a scrappy Venezuela (1-3) club in the late game to create a tie for first place.