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Cuba hits top gear in 16-3 win over Colombia

After dropping two one-run games in the first two days of group play, Cuba (1-2) exploded for 16 runs and 18 hits on Wednesday night in West Palm Beach, downing Colombia (0-3) 16-3 in seven innings at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The offensive onslaught began with four singles in the first inning that plated three runs and continued in the second when Cuba scored four more. The big blows of the second inning were a Yordanis Samon two-run single and Erisbel Arruebarruena’s second home run of the tournament – a two-run blast that made it 7-0.

After being held scoreless in the third, Cuba’s hitters got going again in the fourth when 11 men came to bat and six more runs came home. Raico Santos brought in two with a one-out triple and Yadir Mujica added a two-run single during a stretch when the visitors had eight straight batters reach base safely. When the top of the fourth came to end, Cuba led 13-0.

22-year-old Bryan Chi was sharp in his first start of the tournament for Cuba, limiting the Colombia national team to one run on four hits over five innings.

Six different players recorded multi-hit games for Cuba. Arruebarruena finished the night 4-for-5 with four RBI and he finishes the tournament with six hits – including two home runs and a double – and six runs batted in. Raico Santos (3-for-5 with four RBI) and Roel Santos (3-for-4 with two runs scored) each collected three hits, and Mujica, Samon and Ivan Prieto all finished the night with two hits apiece.

Colombia’s offense was led by Jeter Downs, who homered, and Andres Angulo who went 2-for-4 with a single and a double.

Despite the impressive performance on Wednesday night, Cuba’s third place finish in Group B means that the Latin American nation will not appear in the Olympic baseball competition for the first time since baseball became a medal sport in 1992. The Cuba national team had won gold or silver medals in all five previous editions of the baseball competition at the Olympic Games.

(Top photo: Ray Otero)



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