Despite a rocky start, Mexico secured a spot in the World Baseball Classic semifinals for the first time with a 5-4 victory over Puerto Rico on Friday. Puerto Rico took an early lead with four runs in the top of the first inning, including consecutive home runs by Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario. Mexico’s ace Julio Urias struggled to contain Puerto Rico’s offense and struggle for his second consecutive start in the WBC
Despite the horrid start, Mexico managed to rally and held Puerto Rico scoreless for the remainder of the game. Thanks to solid performances from Javier Assad, JoJo Romero, Jake Sanchez, and Giovany Gallegos, Mexico was able to secure the win and advance to the semifinals where they will face the United States. The US defeated Cuba 14-2 Sunday night in the first of two WBC semifinals.
Paredes Carries Mexico
Mexico’s offense finally got it going in the quarterfinal, as third baseman Isaac Paredes, a Tampa Bay Rays emerging star, got his country on the board with a solo home run in the second inning. Alex Verdugo added Mexico’s second run with a bases-loaded single in the fifth inning, but the real damage came in the seventh.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Paredes came through again with a game-tying single. Then, Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Luis Urias delivered a clutch single to give Mexico the lead. Paredes, who reached base four times in the game, played a pivotal role in Mexico’s comeback. Mexico finally had the lead going to the eighth and would hold Puerto Rico scoreless to punch their first-ever ticket to the WBC semifinals.
MEXICO HAS THE LEAD!
After being down 4-0 in the 1st, Mexico has come back and will carry a lead into the 8th inning!
📺: WBC on FS1 pic.twitter.com/XGQ0qdbceK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 18, 2023
Mexico will have their hands full as they will face off Monday against WBC power Japan, led by superstar Shoei Ohtani. If Mexico is able to overcome Japan, it will set up a much-anticipated rematch with the United States in the WBC. In pool play, Mexico defeated the US in a spirited and well-contested game, 11-5.