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LEBC 2024 Finals | Figueredo, Moinelo, González, and Cosme help Hunters even Finals with a 6-3 victory over Crocodiles in Game 2

Game 3 of the series will be played at Artemisa on Friday afternoon

Closer Liván Moinelo celebrates after tying the series. (Photo: Jit Digital)

Finals of the II Elite League of Cuban Baseball

Game 2: Artemisa 6, Matanzas 3

The series is tied 1-1

Raúl González hit a two-run double and Andy Cosme added a two-run single, and the Artemisa Hunters rolled to a 6-3 victory in Game 2 of the II Elite League Finals on Wednesday night. Only six batters into the game, they led 2-0, and by the fourth inning, they had doubled the lead.

In addition, they scored two more runs to tie the best-of-seven series.

Game 3 is Friday afternoon at 26 de Julio Stadium in Artemisa, where the home team Artemisa is 14-8 in this Elite League season.

Hunters got off to a quick start. Frederich Cepeda walked and Dennis Laza followed with a double in the second inning against starter Yoel Mojena. Following their close Game 1 loss, Raúl González hit a two-run double to center field that gave Artemisa a 2-0 lead early on.

Two batters later, Mojena was out of the game.

During this postseason, the right-hander has struggled. He has not advanced past the second inning in either of his two outings, each completing 1 1/3 innings. Currently, he has an awful 16.36 ERA, allowing 6 hits, 4 of them doubles.

It didn't get any better for Matanzas. Until the third inning, Eriel Carrillo retired four consecutive hitters before walking Cepeda and Laza back-to-back to start the fourth inning. In no time at all, Matanzas' manager pulled his reliever and brought in Haykel Parra. Parra, however, delivered a rollercoaster of relief. After retiring González on a fly-out to right-field, he hit José Jiménez, then retired Osbel Pacheco on another fly-out to right, but allowed Cosme to bring two runners home with his single to center. There was a 4-0 lead for Artemisa.

An inning later and Parra was also out of the game, after walking Luis González to start the inning. Veteran Noelvis Entenza, who provided an excellent relief and took the win in Game 6 of the semifinals against Las Tunas, entered the game. In the process, he allowed Dayán García to hit a single to left that sent González to third. Afterwards, Entenza forced Cepeda to hit a 4663 double play, but could not prevent González from scoring. Artemisa had a solid 5-0 lead.

As a result of Raymond Figueredo's gem, Artemisa evened the series. (Photo: Jit Digital)

Meanwhile, Artemisa's starter Raymond Figueredo was throwing a gem against one of the best lineups in the Elite League. In four of the first five innings he pitched, the right-hander faced a minimum of three batters, allowing only one hit to Rusney Castillo in the second inning. The third inning saw him hit Andrys Pérez. He then retired the next eight batters in a row until the fifth inning. In total, he needed only 52 pitches. 

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Matanzas made a comeback. Andrys Pérez and Eduardo Blanco hit back-to-back singles and an error put runners at third and second without outs. Yulieski González called his bullpen and brought Osdany Rodriguez. Despite retiring Yordan Manduley for the first out, Rodriguez allowed Ariel Sánchez's two-run double to center. Samón followed with a single to left after Gracial gave up the second out on an infield fly, bringing Sánchez home and closing the score to 5-3.

In a close Game 1, Moinelo did not pitch, and manager Yulieski González was criticized for not using his best reliever. González did not want to repeat the same mistake. Matanzas lineup, if it wanted to really come back in this game, would have to do so against Artemisa's finest bullpen.

However, in an atypical move, Moinelo entered the game to complete a 10-out game.

Moinelo didn't disappoint. After walking Castillo, he struck out Erisbel Arruebarrena to end the threat. During the next three and a half innings, Moinelo allowed no hits while striking out five and walking three. The save was his third of the postseason.



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