LIMA, Peru – An eighth inning rally that saw Canada’s men’s baseball team score four runs came up just short as Puerto Rico got out of trouble with the bases loaded to eventually come away with an 8-5 victory as the Pan Am Games baseball competition’s super round got underway.
Canada entered the inning trailing by seven runs after Puerto Rico put four runs across the plate in the top half of the inning with Tristan Pompey (Mississauga, ON), Eric Wood (Oshawa, ON), Connor Panas (Etobicoke, ON) and Dustin Houle (Penticton, BC) all driving in runs. But it was not meant to be with Puerto Rico’s Fernando Cruz striking out Rene Tosoni (Port Coquitlam, BC) and Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) with the bases loaded to end the threat.
“We’ll keep battling until there’s 27 outs and we showed some character at the end,” commented Manager Ernie Whitt. “Their (starting pitcher) kept us off-balance at the start of the game so we need to give him credit.”
That pitcher was Miguel Martinez who limited Canada to one run on five hits over six innings of work with his only blemish coming in the form of a Michael Crouse solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third inning.
Puerto Rico had taken advantage of a double and an error in the first inning to score one run before Brahiam Maldonado hit a two-run homer off Canada starting pitcher Ryan Kellogg (Whitby, ON) with two out in the third to go up by three.
Kevin Luciano hit a solo home run in the sixth before Puerto Rico went on to add four runs in the top half of the eighth coming on four hits and two walks.
The win improves Puerto Rico’s Super Round record to 2-0 while Canada falls to 1-1 with a contest against Nicaragua coming up on Saturday. Canada is guaranteed to play for a medal on Sunday and a chance to appear in the gold medal game for the third Pan Am Games in a row.
“We know what we have to do tomorrow and that’s to beat Nicaragua,” said Whitt. “(Phillippe) Aumont is going to start for us (on the mound) and hopefully he throws the ball as well as he did in the first game of the tournament.”
UP NEXT: Saturday’s contest against Nicaragua at the Del Triunfo Baseball Field in Lima is set for a 4PM ET first pitch.
To stay up-to-date with Canada’s men’s baseball team in Lima be sure to follow @baseballcanada on Twitter.
To follow the Pan Am Games baseball competition including standings, box scores and statistics, please visit the Official Lima 2019 website.