|UST (3-6), 5th||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||2||7||5||2|
|ADMU (7-2), 1st||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2||4|
The defending champions have secured a finals spot for this UAAP Baseball season. The team seemed to be out of sync in their match-up as the UST Golden Sox score a 7-1 upset victory over the ADMU Blue Batters last Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Coach Randy Dizer squad began with UAAP Season 76 Most Valuable Player Andy Tan as the starting pitcher. This move was made to prep the fifth year player for the grind of the last games of the season.
Andy Tan immediately gave up three walks to Golden Sox lead off batter Arvin Plaza. After two quick strikeouts of Gio Martinez and Marco Reyes, senior Christian Mercado popped a single to center field to give UST two bases. Fifth batter Arcel Aligno was intentionally walked to load up the bases for UST. With junior Kirk Daquis at bat, a costly catching error by ADMU right fielder Renzo Ramos paved the way for runs by Plaza, Mercado, and Aligno. A caught fly to the ADMU left fielder ended the top half of the inning with UST up 3 runs to none.
The ADMU offense did not have best slugger Matt Laurel in the batting order to start the game while the UST defense was anchored by third year pitcher Kirk Daquis. With one out at the bottom of the first, two consecutive singles by Radito Banzon and Dio Remollo gave ADMU the corners with Banzon at third base. A fielder’s choice by the UST defense resulted to an out of Banzon at home base for second out while Ryon Tionloc was picked off at second base soon after to end the inning.
The UST defense shutout the Blue Batters at the bottom of half of the second inning. While the Golden Sox offense punched in another run at the top of the third inning courtesy of an RBI double by UST senior Arcel Aligno.
The Blue Batters’ punched in their only run of the game at the bottom of the third inning. Rapho Balagtas was walked by Daquis to open the bottom half of the third. The Blue Batters loaded the bases after Adriene Bernardo was walked and a single by Radito Banzon. Balagtas then slid in a run after a fielder’s choice that resulted to no outs. The inning ended with ADMU still down 4-1.
ADMU starting pitcher Andy Tan got his game going in the next three innings in giving up no hits including a two strikeouts. On the other end, Kirk Daquis was relieved of pitching duties during the fifth inning. The Blue Batters almost scored another run at the top of the fifth with Dio Remollo and Ryon Tionloc at prime scoring positions. With just one out, Matt Laurel was subbed in to hit for Chip Esguerra. The UST coaching staff then replaced Daquis for sophomore Kimferlee Lopez. The UST defense was able to secure a double play after putouts of Laurel and Ramos at second and first baase respectively.
Andy Tan was replaced by sophomore Nacho Cojuangco to open the top of the seventh. However, the UST lead was further extended in the inning with a Jayrome Kimilat RBI double that led to a run by Kimferlee Lopez. Again, the Blue Batters almost had a chance to close the gap at the bottom of the seventh but the UST defense held the defending champions runless to end the seventh.
The offense of the defending champions never picked up in the final two innings while the Golden Sox scored to more runs courtesy of Gio Martinez, off an error by ADMU pitcher Nacho Cojuangco, and Noriel Valencia nailing a run off of a sacrifice fly by Jayrome Kimilat. The UST Golden Sox take this game 7-1.
After the game, we caught up with Coach Randy Dizer. Coach Dizer was frustrated with the team’s perfmance as he told us that the team cannot relax even with a finals berth already intact. “Ang pangit naman if we head into the finals with a losing streak.”
Moreover, the final game of the season for the Blue Batters will be against second place DLSU. “We got your back,” Coach Randy Dizer told UP captain Martin Senador after the game. UP is trying to secure the other finals spot but need to win all their remaining games and DLSU losing against ADMU.
The UST offense was led by Christian Mercado with two runs. Jayrome Kimilat complimented the offense with two RBIs.
Even in giving up four runs, Andy Tan had a good outing with six strikeouts in the six innings he pitched.
The ADMU Blue Batters next face the DLSU Green Batters on Thursday, February 25 at 10:30am while the UST Golden Sox close their UAAP Season 77 campaign against the Adamson Soaring Falcons at 1:30pm. Both games will still be played at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.