By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico scored a 5-2 victory over Nicaragua on Thursday, the first day of the Caribbean Series at Loan Depot Stadium in Miami.
The bullpen was key for the Caguas Criollos, representing the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League, while timely hitting made its appearance in the middle innings.
Puerto Rico broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning on a triple by Jack López between right-center field that drove in pinch-hitter Heliot Ramos from second in the sixth inning. Later in the inning Vimael Machín singled home Bryan Torres, who had reached base on a fielder’s choice, to make it 3-1.
Melvin Novoa’s deep sacrifice fly in the top of the eight brought home José Orozco to pull Nicaragua to within a run, but Puerto Rico produced two runs in the bottom of the inning thanks to a double by Heliot Ramos and a sacrifice fly by Johneshwy Fargas to make it 5-2.
Nicaragua opened the scoring with two outs in the second inning when Cheslor Cuthbert doubled home Raudy Read, who had doubled off the center field wall to open the inning, off Puerto Rico starter Eduardo Rivera.
Danny Ortiz made it 1-1 in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
Ricardo Vélez (1-0) earned the win for Puerto Rico after pitching one and a third scoreless innings, in which he struck out two and walked one. Lincoln Henzman picked up the save by getting the last two outs of the game. Jesús Linarez (0-1) took the loss for Nicaragua by allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning.
The Puerto Rican team will face the Mexican Pacific League team on Friday at 9:30 p.m. PR time.