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Lefty problems continue to plague UP, loses to La Salle

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In their first game to open the season, UST lefty pitcher Lesmar Ventura exposed a problem that the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons have to solve quickly: left-handed pitchers.

Sunday afternoon, the De La Salle University Green Batters, through rookie left-handed pitcher Diego Lozano, shackled the State U batters in the early innings, leading to a 7-4 loss.

The UP batters could not find an answer for the rookie from La Salle Greenhills. During the seven innings he pitched, the 18-year-old only allowed three hits, all single base hits. Moreover, Lozano was able to strikeout 11 batters in his starting debut.

Finding an in-sync pitcher-catcher combination for the game compounded the problem for the Fighting Maroons. Even if the scoreboard showed that the Green Batters punched in one run during the first four innings, the pitching of Miguel Herrera and, in the third inning, Alfonso Balagtas allowed five hits. Seven of the La Salle batters were left on base, a testament to the fielding of the Fighting Maroons.

However, it would not stay that way for long.

The UP defense caved in, as the La Salle offense poured in run after run in a six-run fifth inning. After a single by Barandiran and with one out, rookie Carlos Minana and Cholo Dominguez were walked to immediately load the bases for La Salle. Paul Naguit was able to bring home Barandiaran while Jose Antonio Acuna brought home the next two runners to put La Salle up 5-0.

With the bases loaded once more, Balagtas walked Salud, leading to another run. The rally was capped by a catching error by left field SJ San Juan that led to a Hashimoto run and put the Taft Avenue batters up 7-0.

UP’s third pitcher for the game, Andrei Herrera, was able to hold his own in the next two innings, but the Diliman batters were still scoreless by the top of the 8th inning. With Lozano relieved of pitching duties for Arvin Herrera, the UP batters were able to find their groove. After a strikeout of the first batter, Mosh Chavez was walked, while errors by La Salle’s second baseman gave James Legaspi base and Chavez a run. San Juan was hit by a pitch later on that gave UP full bases. Andrei Herrera, batting against his younger brother, connected with a single that brought home Legaspi.

With the UP faithful in attendance cheering them on, Diego Gonzalez popped a single to center-left field that paved the way for two more runs that cut the La Salle lead to just three runs, 7-4 going into the ninth inning.

Gab Rodriguez was tasked to try and close out the game. Rodriguez was able to strikeout the first batter for La Salle. Consecutive singles by Carlos Muñoz and Jonathan Park. However, Muñoz was caught stealing at second base but a bad dive resulted to him leaving the game due to a sprained left shoulder. A flyout by Naguit gave UP a chance in the ninth inning.

It was not meant to be for the Maroons, however, as Balagtas, JJ Cinco, and Chavez flyballs were caught for three flyouts in succession.

The Green Batters (1-1) face the Adamson Soaring Falcons (1-1) to open the February 11 games while the UP Fighting Maroons (0-2) look for their first win as they face the National University Bulldogs (1-1).

TEAMS1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9thRHE
UP (0-2)000000040451
DLSU (1-1)000160007103
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