The Tijuana Toros embarked on their second road trip of the 2018 LMB fall tournament and had a good time in Cancun and Yucatan. The Border City Bulls won five of six games in the scorching heat of Southern Mexico and improved to an 8-4 record in this fall tournament.
Lino Rivera’s side first swept Tigres de Quintana Roo in a three-game series in Cancun in what proved to be a hard-fought series. The three-game set began on Tuesday, July 10, as the Toros defeated Tigres 2-1 in the opening encounter. Scott Carroll was the starter for the Border City Bulls, but Lino Rivera ended up using seven different pitchers on the day. The only run was surrendered by closer Tom Wilhelmsen, but he did end up picking up the save. Isaac Rodriguez led the border city side to the victory as he drove in both runs as he continued his impressive start to the new season.
The second game in Cancun was not a pitching duel by any stretch of the word as Los Astados won by a score of 8-5. The offense was fueled by Dustin Martin, Fernando Perez and Xorge Carrillo, who all hit home runs. Horacio Ramirez started the game for Tijuana and allowed two runs in four innings, the bullpen did a solid job barring Mark Serrano, who allowed three runs. Tom Wilhelmsen closed it out again on Wednesday night and added another save to his count.
San Diego native Alex Sanabia improved to a 2-0 record as the Toros won the third game of the series by a score of 5-3. The 29-year-old hurler allowed three runs in five innings and the bullpen was perfect behind him as it only allowed a hit in four innings of work. Isaac Rodriguez drove in a pair of runs to lead the offense in that department while Justin Greene, Dustin Martin and Fernando Perez all had an RBI as well. Fernando Perez stayed hot and smashed his second home run of the series. Jesus Pirela picked up his first save of the season to seal the game and the series sweep as former Toros’ pitcher Barry Enright picked up the loss.
The Border City Bulls then began a three-game set in Yucatan against the current champions Leones de Yucatan. A pair of former big leaguers started the game as Hector Ambriz was on the mound for Lino Rivera and Carlos Zambrano tossed the ball for the home team. “Big Z” allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings while Ambriz allowed three runs in five frames. Those three runs led to the Toros’ downfall in the first game of the series as the current LMB champions won 3-1. Dustin Martin had the only RBI of the clash for the border city side as the team had six hits collectively, but not much to show for it.
The second game in Yucatan was a thrilling and contested encounter as Los Astados picked up a narrow 4-3 win. Carlos Hernandez allowed one run in five innings of labor for the away team while Edgar Osuna allowed two runs in the same amount of frames. Dustin Martin had an RBI, Jorge Cantu had one of his own while the newly acquired Junior Lake was the hero of the night with two RBI to his name. Yucatan had a total of nine hits, but the Toros’ bullpen held off nicely as Tom Wilhelmsen picked up his fourth save of the season to tie the series up.
The final game of the series and the road trip fell again to Tijuana’s favor as the Border City Bulls picked up a hard-fought 6-5 victory. Dustin Martin and Roberto Lopez were the standouts at the plate with two RBI each while Maxwell Leon had an RBI as well. Lino Rivera’s team had 13 total hits as Dustin Martin led the team in that department with four. For Yucatan, the standout was former Padres’ infielder Everth Cabrera, who went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Scott Carroll started the game for the border city club and he did not have the best start as he gave up three runs in four and two thirds innings. The bullpen stayed consistent as it had been throughout the road trip with Tom Wilhelmsen picking up his fifth save of the young season.
The Toros will now have a six-game homestand, which starts this Tuesday, July 17, with the first game of a three-game set against Pericos de Puebla.