Puerto Rico was on its way to a semifinals berth on Tuesday, but it was eliminated by Team USA in a stunning 6-5 loss at Dolphin Stadium, ending the country's Classic run.
Two magnificent, memorable games ended up with Puerto Rico on the losing end, and suddenly the last unbeaten in the Classic was the latest team eliminated.
For the first time since the World Baseball Classic started, Puerto Rico will be playing a must-win game on Tuesday.
Previously unbeaten in the Classic, the Puerto Rican squad ran into what's starting to look like the best team in the tournament, as it fell to Venezuela, 2-0, on Monday at Dolphin Stadium. P.R. was the last club that had not lost a game in the 2009 Classic.
Despite appearances, the first use of instant replay in the World Baseball Classic never materialized on Monday night in the Venezuela-Puerto Rico game at Dolphin Stadium.
Undefeated Puerto Rico will send Pirates right-hander Ian Snell to the mound to face Venezuela's stacked lineup in Game 2 of the second round on Monday night.
A multi-pronged offensive attack and an outstanding starting pitching performance propelled Puerto Rico to an 11-1 win over the United States on Saturday.
The Puerto Rican bats drew the oohs and ahhs from the crowd of 30,595 at Dolphin Stadium, but Javier Vazquez shone as bright as any of the offensive pyrotechnics.
The stakes continue to rise in the Classic, as second-round games are set to begin at Dolphin Stadium, where Puerto Rico and Team USA square off in a much-anticipated showdown.