By The Star Staff
The Carolina Giants defeated the Ponce Lions, 4-3, in the seventh and decisive game of the winter baseball B semifinal series held at Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium in Carolina on Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Giants advance to the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League finals against the Caguas Criollos. The best-of-9 series opens Friday at 7 p.m. in Carolina (WAPA Deportes).
With the game tied at 3-3 in the sixth inning, the Giants’ Jonathan Rodríguez greeted reliever Alirio Negrette with a line drive to left field to drive in Delvin Pérez for the eventual game-winning run.
Import pitcher Eduardo Rivera (1-0) picked up the win with two innings in relief in which he kept the Lions off the bases. Connor Sadzeck took over for Rivera in the eighth and ninth innings to earn his third save in the series.
Yoanys Quiala took the loss for Ponce, allowing one run in 2.1 innings of work.
The Giants scored first with three runs in the second inning, getting RBIs from Gabriel Cancel, Pérez and Bryan Torres. Starting with a solo homer by J.C. Escarra, the Lions responded two innings later with three runs to pull even. Brian Rey’s sacrifice fly to center drove in Edwin Díaz, and Calvin Estrada singled home Anthony García for Ponce’s second and third runs, respectively.
Torres went 3-for-4 on the night for Carolina with a walk, a stolen base and an RBI. Pérez went 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI.
For the Lions, Ozzie Martínez was 2-for-4 and Escarra was 1-for-5 with a home run, a run and an RBI.