The Tijuana Toros started off their 2017 campaign this Friday, March 31, at the Estadio Gasmart in Tijuana.
The opening series for the Toros in the Liga Mexicana de Beisbol was set to be a three-game series against Vaqueros de la Union Laguna.
The series turned out to be fantastic for the border city side, pulling off the three-game sweep and outscoring their opponents 27-6 throughout the series. Here is a wrap of what went on at the Estadio Gasmart this past weekend across the border.
Game 1: Opening Day Demolition
Opening day at the Estadio Gasmart was a spectacle to see as a sold-out crowd and a fantastic pre-game show greeted the Tijuana Toros’ 2017 season. The vibrant atmosphere at the stadium was as spectacular as the Toros’ offense throughout the series. The Bulls had their biggest win of the three-game set on opening day, defeating Union Laguna by a score of 16-5.
The opening day starter for Tijuana was Chula Vista native, Alex Sanabia. The former Marlins pitcher had an outstanding outing, allowing two runs (one earned) through five innings. His counterpart, Union Laguna pitcher, Dustin Crenshaw, was not so fortunate, allowing eight runs through three innings. The Vaqueros’ bullpen was also not any better, allowing another eight runs through five innings. The bullpen for Tijuana was solid, but not great, allowing three runs through four innings. The standout performer out of the pen for the Toros had to be Derrick Miramontes. The California native was not great in 2016 as a starter for Tijuana, but threw two hitless innings with a strikeout and no walks on Friday night against Union Laguna.
The offense was the main highlight of the game, the final score being 16-5 for the Tijuana Toros. The Vaqueros produced five runs on eight hits by eight different players through their lineup. The Toros had a much better day at the plate, producing 16 runs on 14 hits. The standout performers for Tijuana offensively in this game were Dustin Martin, Alex Liddi, and Jorge Cantu. Martin went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, a stolen base, and three RBI. The home run for the outfielder came in the bottom of the fourth inning with two men on. Alex Liddi went 1-for-2 with a three-run home run and two walks. The Italian player had a total of four RBI in the game, one of the walks coming with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning. Finally, Cantu also had an impressive performance, going 2-for-3 with a RBI double and a two-run home run. The border city side showed its potential when all of its key players can perform, coming away with the monumental win on opening day.
Game 2: Pure Dominance
The second game was the most dominant win by the Tijuana Toros in the series, defeating the Vaqueros 5-0. The first game was a dominant performance, but the pitching by the Toros was not nearly as good in game one as in game two.
Veteran, Horacio Ramirez, received the opportunity to start for Pedro Mere in the second game of the series. The California native threw a gem, allowing two hits through six scoreless innings. The bullpen was also great for the Toros, allowing a hit and striking out five batters through three scoreless innings. Union Laguna starting pitcher, Jeremy Kehrt, had a rough outing allowing five runs in four and a third. The bullpen for the Vaqueros was much better in game two, allowing two hits in three and two-thirds scoreless innings. The excellent pitching by Tijuana was part of what made the second game of the series such a dominant performance, holding Union Laguna to three hits in the game.
The offense was less of a spectacle in game two of the series, the Toros winning by a score of 5-0. There was no single player that outshined any other player, but rather a strong team effort by the border city side. Four different players had an RBI in the game and five different players had at least a hit in the encounter. The four players that did manage to drive in a run on the day were Isaac Rodriguez, Corey Brown, Alex Liddi, and Jorge Cantu. Liddi was the lone player to hit a home run in the game, while Cantu went 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI single. Despite these individual performances, the game was won by a dominant team effort led by very strong pitching.
Game Three: ‘Las Escobas’ (The Brooms)
The Tijuana Toros completed the three-game sweep with another dominant performance over Union Laguna in game three. The final score was 6-1 at the Estadio Gasmart with the home team never giving a chance to the away team.
The starter for Pedro Mere was Miguel Pena, a 26-year-old lefty who had played in the Red Sox organization in the past. Pena had a strong 2016, going 9-3 with a stellar 2.43 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 17 starts. The Texas native had a strong start to his 2017 campaign, allowing three hits through six scoreless innings at the Estadio Gasmart. The Bulls bullpen was also very strong, allowing two hits in three scoreless innings. Pitching was better for the Vaqueros in this game. Starting pitcher, Marco Quevedo, had a solid performance, only allowing three runs on five hits through five innings. The real flaw in the pitching for Union Laguna came in the eighth inning when Esmailin Caridad allowed three runs on five hits.
The Vaqueros struggled offensively again for the second consecutive game, only getting one run on five hits. The real issue for Laguna’s offense was problems with runners on base, producing four double plays throughout the encounter. The Toros offense was potent yet again, producing six runs on 10 hits. The main contributors to the third victory of the series were Dustin Marin and Alex Liddi. Martin went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, two stolen bases, and a solo home run. Liddi had another stellar game, going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and a RBI single, adding another three RBI to his total. The ex-Mariner was easily the best player of the series, getting three home runs and eight RBI. Collectively, the Tijuana Toros were outstanding, especially offensively. The Bulls will keep the home stand going with a three-game series against Generales de Durango starting this Tuesday, April 4. Viva Los Toros!