Team Mexico pulled off the unthinkable on Friday night, overcoming a 4-1 deficit to beat Team Puerto Rico 5-4 in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals. By no surprise, Tampa Bay Rays superstar Randy Arozarena once again played hero in more ways than one.
With a runner on base in the top of the eighth, Emmanuel Rivera smacked a long drive into the left-center alley that looked like a sure double. But out of nowhere, Arozarena used his blistering speed to track it down and make the catch, ultimately saving the game and keeping Mexico’s lead intact.
Following the contest, Arozarena, who has accomplished some big things in the major leagues, admitted that grab was arguably the highlight of his career to date. Via FOX Sports MLB:
"That was better than any home run I've ever hit in the big leagues. That was better than the home run I hit in the World Series. That catch was the best."@RandyArozarena to @Ken_Rosenthal after Mexico's win in the WBC quarterfinal 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/8ndy3NMIQY
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 18, 2023
Bigger than a home run in the World Series? Wow. As we all know, Randy Arozarena made postseason history in 2020 with 10 long balls, including three in the Fall Classic.
You can just see how much this win means to the Rays slugger, though. At the plate, Randy Arozarena went 1 for 3 with a pair of walks but in the tournament as a whole, he’s been absolutely raking. The outfielder is 8 for 17 in the WBC along with playing flawless defense.
Mexico now heads to the semifinals where they will face Shohei Ohtani and Team Japan, who have yet to lose in the World Baseball Classic. Certainly a tough task, but I mean, the Mexicans just took out an absolutely stacked Puerto Rico group in a Miami environment filled with their fans. Anything is possible and you better believe Arozarena will be playing a key part.