Ateneo moved one win away from back-to-back crowns after annihilating University of Santo Tomas in just five innings, 15-3, Thursday in game one of the best-of-three UAAP Season 82 Juniors Baseball Finals at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Blue Eaglets look to bag their second consecutive title on Saturday, October 26.
Ateneo started the onslaught with a six-run second inning on four walks, three errors and three hits as Emilio Perez, Kean Agcaoili, Gabby Mendoza, Ezekiel Laygo, Marcel Guzman, and Matt San Juan reached home, 7-2.
“What we are teaching the kids now is that a walk is always better than a hit kasi kapag nai-walk ka, ibig sabihin maganda kang tumingin ng bola. That’s the most important thing, if you are patient on looking at those balls, the tendency ay lalabas yung palo,” Ateneo baseball program director Randy Dizer said.
The Blue Eaglets then followed it up with a three-run third inning via hits from Dax Fabella, Laygo, and San Juan that brought Agcaoili, Laygo, and Guzman to home plate, 10-2.
Ateneo finished the Jr. Golden Sox at the bottom of the fourth inning with five runs by Carlos Dela Rosa, Perez, Agcaoili, Guzman, and Fabella, 15-2, before San Juan, who pitched the last inning in lieu of Ateneo ace Zach Urbina, took care of the last three outs at the top of the fifth inning to enforce the mercy rule.
UST started the game with two runs on two sacrifice hits by Justine Rosales and Steve Dominguez that drove in Alwyn Piñero and Edwin Abella home, 2-0.
The Jr. Golden Sox though utilized their entire bullpen, shuffling five pitchers but to no avail. Starting pitcher Matthew Barilea allowed three runs on four hits in just 1 1/3 innings pitched.
Ateneo slugger Joaquin Mendoza went a perfect 3-for-3 at-bat resulting in two RBIs. Rico Samson and Fabella also tallied two RBIs as well.
“The kids are ready for UST come Game two and I told them na we have to get it on Saturday para wala nang problema and now with this win, UST has to beat us twice,” said Dizer.