The Tijuana Toros wrapped up their first home series of the 2018 LMB fall tournament this Sunday, July 8.
The Border City Bulls did lose the final game of the series 3-1, but did end up winning the series against Generales de Durango by two games to one. The three-game set was filled with excitement and included a blowout win, an extra-inning affair and a late loss. The series really showed the potential the team has as well the potential the league has for entertaining and intense matchups. The Toros won their first series of the new season and improved to a .500 record at 3-3.
Game 1: Generales de Durango 3-8 Tijuana Toros
The Border City Bulls enjoyed a jubilant LMB fall tournament home-opener with a comfortable 8-3 win against Generales de Durango. San Diego native Alex Sanabia had his first start of the new season and had a solid outing as he only allowed a run and struck out five Durango batters in five innings of work. His adversary, Lendy Castillo was roughed up as he allowed four runs on five hits in just two innings. The Toros’ bullpen did allow a pair of runs, but it did not come back to haunt them as the offense had a stellar showing.
Tom Wilhelmsen came on to pitch the final inning of the game and was unscathed as he is yet to allow a run in three innings this season. Lino Rivera’s offense was led by Cyle Hankerd, who had a two-run homer and a total of three RBI. Corey Brown also struck with a solo shot, while Xorge Carrillo finished the encounter with a pair of RBI. Dustin Martin was the only player in the Toros’ lineup that did not have a hit while Fernando Perez was the only player to get more than a hit with two.
Game 2: Generales de Durango 1-2 Tijuana Toros
The border city side did have such a comfortable win in the second game of the series as it ended 2-1 in 13 innings. The game was a classic pitching duel between Hector Ambriz, Edgar Torres and the bullpens. Ambriz allowed one run on just one hit through five innings for the home side while Torres allowed a run on two hits in six innings. Jeff Ibarra, Daniel Moskos, Jesus Pirela, Tom Wilhelmsen, Mark Serrano, Aaron Kurcz and Rafael Diaz provided eight shutout innings out of bullpen collectively and just allowed a total of three hits.
The 47-year-old Rafael Diaz received the win in the game as he was the pitcher in the top of the thirteenth inning. The lone run of the game for Tijuana through the first nine innings came from an RBI single by Cyle Hankerd that drove in Isaac Rodriguez in the first inning. The hero of the game was former Padres’ prospect Fernando Perez as he had a sacrifice fly that drove in Dustin Martin in the bottom of the 13th inning. The game was a hard-fought one that really required an amazing performance by the bullpen, that was needed to bring confidence to the relief core that was very inconsistent last season.
Game 3: Generales de Durango 3-1 Tijuana Toros
The final game of the three-game set did not quite go the Toros’ way, but it did prove to be another great pitcher’s duel. For Lino Rivera, Hector Galvan allowed one run on just one hit along with seven strikeouts in five and a third innings. Tiago da Silva also allowed one run in five and a third innings, but did give up nine hits in the process. Leaving runners on base was a serious problem for Los Astados as 12 runners were left on. The home team finished the game with 13 hits, but cracked under pressure and only produced one run in the encounter. Isaac Rodriguez produced the lone run for the border city team and was one of the standouts at the plate with four hits.
Justin Greene also finished the clash with four knocks while Jio Mier had three of his own. Durango was led by Jorge Vazquez, who had a solo home run in the second inning and Jon Del Campo, who drove in two runs with a double in the ninth inning off Tom Wilhelmsen. The former Mariners’ pitcher had been perfect in his previous outings this season, but was off on Sunday night and gave up a pair of runs that gave him the loss in the game. The loss was devastating with the failure from the bullpen and the number of runners left on base. However, the Toros did manage to win the series and improve to a 3-3 record.