National University exacted vengeance on defending champion Ateneo, 10-1, to wrap up the first round of eliminations in the UAAP Season 82 Juniors Baseball tournament with a sweep, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
This was the first time the Bullpups and the Blue Eaglets faced off since the Season 81 Finals, when the latter swept the then-top seeded squad for the crown.
“Going into the next round, magandang morale-boosting win rin ulit ‘to kasi kumbaga, nakabawi kami [sa Ateneo] kasi masaklap ‘yung nangyari sa ‘min last year eh,” said Bullpups head coach Egay delos Reyes.
The Bullpups scored four runs in the third inning to overhaul a 0-1 hole. They then added four more runs in the sixth to complete the rout.
Catcher Julius Soriano ended with a whopping three hits in four at-bats, driving in three runs in the process. On the defensive side, he amassed seven putout, while relief pitcher Regie Omana dismissed these batters.
Omana likewise limited the Blue Eaglets to just four hits from the last five innings, leading to the defending champions’ scoreless stint after an early 1-0 advantage.
Ateneo captain Keane Agcaoili registered Ateneo’s lone run after a Matthew San Juan ground-rule double.
Nonetheless, the Bullpups’ journey to that elusive title is far from over.
“We need to keep going, kasi ‘pag nanlamig tayo, doon magbabago ‘yung performance natin,” Delos Reyes reminded the team.
On the other hand, University of Santo Tomas also overpowered De La Salle Zobel in the first game of the day, 12-2 in six innings, to barge into the win column.
The Junior Golden Sox capitalized on the errors of the Junior Green Batters in the first and sixth inning to score two unearned runs in either of these frames.
UST’s lead ballooned to 10 after a seven-run binge in the sixth inning.
Kenth Porras paced UST’s first win with two hits and two RBIs in four at-bats. Justine Rosales then hit a triple in the third inning to eventually score the first of his two runs in the game.
The Junior Green Batters scored both of their runs in the third frame from Charlie Calvadores and Jose Dunglao to cute the deficit to two, 2-4. Relief pitcher John Ado then held La Salle scoreless from the fourth inning, including two strikeouts.
“Masaya ako kasi ‘yung mga bata medyo naka-adjust na. Pero medyo mahirap pa ‘yung task namin. May tatlong games pa, kaya sana ma-diretso namin para makahabol kami sa contest para sa Finals,” UST head coach Jeff Santiago shared.
The second round starts on Tuesday, October 15.