By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — William Luis drove in two runs with a single to right in the eighth inning to lift Team Cuba to a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the USA university all-stars in the second game of a five game series in Havana.
The teams are once again meeting each other after a 16-year absence. The opener went to the visitors 4-3 on Thursday.
Friday’s game started out as a display of home run power with USA jumping off to a 4-2 lead after three innings with homers by D.J. Peterson, Johnny Field and Michael Conforto. Cuba’s first runs also came from the long ball off the bats of Alfredo Despaigne and Rusney Castillo.
Down 6-2 the Cubans rallied for three runs in the seventh to put the game within reach. The comeback started with a solo homer by Jose Dariel Abreu and later Frederich Cepeda and Alexei Bell both crossed the plate.
Cuban starter Ismel Jimenez was roughed up for the initial four runs in three innings. Darien Nuñez got the win in relief, pitching the seventh and eighth innings without allowing a hit or a run. Pablo Millan Fernandez picked up a save while striking out two in the ninth.
Trevor Williams took the loss for the USA allowing the final two Cuban runs. The visitor’s three pitchers struck out 8 Cubans but fanned 10 times against six hurlers from the island. Cuba out hit the USA 8-7.
Game three of the series is set for tonight at 8:00 p.m., once again at Havana’s Latinoamericano Stadium. Vladimir Garcia, who led Ciego de Avila to the national championship this past season, is scheduled to start for Cuba. Adan Plutko has been announced to open for the USA.
After the five game exhibition series, with the final games today, Sunday and Monday, the two teams will both take part in the Haarlem Baseball Week tournament in Holland later this month.