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Winter League roundup: Aybar leads Licey to key win

Dominican Winter League

Licey 6, Gigantes 4
Erick Aybar went 2-for-4 with a triple as Licey stormed back for a pivotal victory over Gigantes on Wednesday night. Left fielder Felix Perez also had two hits and launched the go-ahead homer in a five-run fifth inning that gave Licey the two-run advantage it would eventually win by. The two clubs will square off again Thursday night, with Licey needing a victory to clinch a berth in the Dominican Series against Escogido. Licey will then finish the round-robin on Friday night in Escogido, while Gigantes hosts Aguilas. Box score

Escogido 2, Aguilas 0
Eury Perez's eighth-inning single plated the only two runs of the game, as Escogido topped Aguilas on Wednesday night to clinch home-field advantage in the Dominican Series. Escogido's Edward Valdez allowed just two hits over six innings, while striking out eight. Cardinals fireballer Carlos Martinez matched zeros with Valdez, tossing seven shutout frames. But the bullpen faltered for Aguilas, which must now win its next two contests and get some help to earn the other berth in the finals. Box score

Puerto Rican Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente

Caguas 4, Mayaguez 3
Aaron Bates hit an RBI single in the top of the 10th inning, propelling Caguas past Mayaguez. The victory keeps Caguas one game ahead of Ponce for the second spot in the Puerto Rican Series. Mayaguez remains in first place with a magic number of one, but its lead has slipped to just one game ahead of Caguas. The Dodgers' Dee Gordon had two hits and a walk in defeat for Mayaguez. Box score

Ponce 7, Carolina 2
Ponce scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to notch a pivotal victory over Carolina on Wednesday night. Rene Rivera's RBI single broke the tie and opened the flood gates for Ponce, and both Jeff Dominguez and Jonathan Mota had two hits. Ponce remains one game back of Caguas in the round-robin playoffs with two to play. In a tense battle for the final spot in the Puerto Rican League Championship Series, the two clubs will square off Thursday night in Ponce. Box score

Venezuelan Winter League

Caribes 4, La Guaira 1
Oscar Salazar went 2-for-4 and hit a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning to help send Caribes into a tie for second place in the round-robin playoffs. Jose Castillo went 3-for-4 and drove in a run, and Daryl Thompson pitched six innings of two-hit ball before giving way to the Caribes bullpen. With five games remaining, Caribes is now in a deadlock with Caracas for the second spot in the Venezuelan Series, two games back of idle Magallanes. Box score

Zulia 9, Caracas 4
Luis Maza went 3-for-4 with a double as Zulia stormed past Caracas on Wednesday night. Ender Inciarte also had three hits, while Philadelphia's Freddy Galvis homered for the second time in as many nights and drove in four runs. Yangervis Solarte and Jesus Guzman -- recently traded to Houston -- each had three hits for Caracas, which dropped into a tie for second place in the round-robin playoffs. Box score

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 7, Los Mochis 4
Zelous Wheeler doubled twice and scored three times, and Hermosillo evened its Mexican semifinal series with Los Mochis at two games apiece. Jerry Owens, Daryle Ward and Yunesky Sanchez also had two hits, and Edgar Gonzalez allowed one run on five hits over six innings to pick up the win. It was a pivotal victory for Hermosillo, which hadn't faced much adversity until Wednesday, after winning both halves of the regular season and cruising through the first round. Box score

Navojoa 8, Mexicali 5
Navojoa pushed Mexicali to the brink of elimination with a Game 4 victory Wednesday night to take a 3-1 series lead. Alejandro Gonzalez homered twice and went 3-for-4, and Luis Fonseca and John Lindsey also went deep. The win puts Navojoa one game from advancing to the Mexican Pacific League Championship Series. Navojoa hasn't won the Mexican title since 2000. Box score

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.