Once again the National University Lady Bulldogs showed resilience in the late innings.
Monday morning, the Jhocson Street Lady Batters were able to exact revenge on the the team that eliminated them last season as the National University Lady Bulldogs delivered in the fifth inning in a 3-2 win over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons to keep pace with league leaders Adamson University.
With two outs at the top of the first inning, Colleen Alilin was able to connect on a single after a full count against UP ace pitcher Cochise Diolata. An error by second basewoman MJ Abanes gave the Lady Bulldog prime scoring position while a base hit by super rookie Aimee Watson brought home her senior to put National University on the scoreboard.
Last season’s runners-up were able to take the run back and, later on, gain the lead in the next two innings. UP team captain Gabin Paz swung a powerful swing to center left field to gain third base with one out. After a tagout of third batter DC Cruz, rookie Juliet Omul was able to bring home Paz to tie the game at 1-all after the opening inning.
Macapagal, still trying to find her groove in the second inning, walked first batter Swing dela Cruz with a full count. A sacrifice fly by Abanes gave Dela Cruz second base. However, with Maki Cabriana at-bat, the Bulldogs defense got tangled up in trying to find a play. The confusion resulted to a catching error by catcher Alilin that led to a run for Swing dela Cruz and a 2-0 lead for the Lady Maroons.
“Ang sinasabi ko sa kanila. Don’t worry about the first three innings. For sure, meron kaming big inning,” Lady Bulldog head coach Egay delos Reyes said. “Nung last three games namin, meron kaming big inning kelangan lang ng patience and discipline.”
The Lady Bulldogs offense struggled against Diolata in the next three innings as they were knocked-off one by one by the UP fielders. In the fifth inning though, the Lady Bulldogs were able to take advantage of costly UP errors. First two batters Nicole Ordoyo and Carla Payapaya gained bases after being hit by a pitch and a walk respectively. Ordoyo was then able to steal third base to give the Lady Bulldogs prime real estate for a run. The rookie was able to gain home base after a fielder’s choice. Later on, with two outs, Alilin was able to bring home Payapaya to give National University the lead 3-2.
Even with the Lady Maroons holding their opponents down in the next two innings that included a huge double play to open the top of the sixth, the batting of the Diliman-based squad had no answer for Macapagal’s clutch pitching. Macapagal did not give up a single hit in the closing innings to maintain the Lady Bulldogs’ clean slate.
“Gusto talaga nila bumawi kasi I heard last season natalo sila sa team na ito nung playoffs,” the first year NU head coach shared. “Yung aim talaga nila is makabawi. I’m glad na nandun yung tapang and resiliency.”
Macapagal pitched all seven innings and only gave up two hits for the entire game. On the offensive end, Colleen Alilin was 2 of 2 in knocking off two singles. She also had a run of her own and was able to bring home one runner. Aimee Watson continued her hot start for the season with two singles on three at-bats and an RBI.
“Ayun yung talagang bilib ako sa pinakita ng team. Just like nung pinakita nila nung game against Ateneo, hindi pa rin sila nawalan ng tapang at nung puso,” Delos Reyes reflected about holding down the Lady Maroons to just two hits, all in the first inning. “They showed yung tapang ng Bulldogs and they were ready to defend. They showed the true character ng mga Bulldogs.”
The National University Bulldogs will next face the UST Tiger Softbelles on Wednesday, February 10 in the last game of the day. On the other hand, the UP Lady Maroons face the DLSU Lady Batters in the second game of the day slated at 11:00am.
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