MIAMI, Fla. -- Brandeis alumnus Nelson Figueroa '98 was dominating in his semifinal round start for Puerto Rico against the United States at the World Baseball Classic tonight. The former Judge, currently a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, held US bats in check through six innings, allowing just two hits, striking out two and walking one. Figueroa left the game at the end of the sixth inning with a 4-0 lead. He threw 82 pitches, 57 for strikes, and faced just two batters over the minimum. Figueroa ended up earning the win as Puerto Rico hung on to defeat the US, 4-3, to advance to the championship round starting Sunday in San Fransisco.
Figueroa has pitched in a number of clinching games since the start of last season. He was on the hill for the Pawtucket Red Sox when they earned their first International League title since 1984, as well as when they clinched their regular-season playoff berth and their semifinal series win over Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
Figueroa, a native of Brooklyn, has played for nine different Major League Baseball organizations since being drafted by the New York Mets in 1995 after his junior season at Brandeis. He made his major league debut with Arizona in 2000 and in 2001 was part of a five-player trade that sent Curt Schilling from Philadelphia to the Diamondbacks. He has since appeared in the majors for the Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros and the Mets, throwing the first shutout in Citi Field in 2009.
Click here for video highlights of Puerto Rico-USA from worldbaseballclassic.com
UPDATE, 3/18: Puerto Rico upset Japan, 3-1, in the WBC semifinals in San Fransisco, earning a spot in the finals Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Eastern/5 p.m. Pacific. The game can be seen on the MLB Network or ESPN Deportes.