MARGARITA ISLAND, Venezuela (ACN) -- Puerto Rico advanced to the semifinals of the Caribbean Baseball Series held at Margarita Island, Venezuela, beating the host squad 5-4, a result that left Cuba without the possibility of advancing in the event.
Forced to beat the undefeated Magallanes Navegantes, the Puerto Ricans Mayagüez Indios fiercely defended their inclusion among the semifinalists, led by starter Jonathan Albaldejo, who allowed only two hits and one unearned run in four innings.
Closer Tyler Herron earned his second save of the contest, while Carlos Monasteries took the loss of the local side which, with its ticket to the semifinals already ensured, rested several of its key players.
Randy Ruiz, Martín Maldonado and Osvaldo Martínez, the latter with a homer, highlighted for the winners, while Alberto Callaspo also hit a homerun for the Venezuelans.
In the evening meeting, the Dominican Republic revived the hopes of the Villa Clara team by defeating Mexico 7-6, but Puerto Rico's victory over Venezuela buried all hope of qualifying for the current monarchs of Cuban baseball.
The Magallanes Navegantes led the standings with three wins and one loss, followed by the Dominicans Licey Tigres, Mexico’s Hermosillo Naranjeros and the Mayagüez Indios from Puerto Rico, all tied at 2-2.
The Cuba team was left out of the semifinals, with one win and three losses in a performance that was a far cry from the expectations created by the return of this baseball power to the Caribbean Series after 54 years without participating.
On Thursday, the Dominican Republic were due to face Mexico in the first semifinal, while Venezuela and Puerto Rico will play the other match on Friday for a spot in the title game.