With the game reaching the deep waters, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons were able to stay composed. Pinch runner Cai de Luna punched in the game-winning run in the ninth inning in a 3-2 win over the National University Lady Bulldogs, Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
With the win, the Lady Maroons ended their three-game slide to end the round at 3-3. The Lady Bulldogs also hold a 3-3 slate to end the first round.
“For us, we just wanted to the losing streak already, because ‘yung standing namin medyo delikado,” said Lady Maroons team captain Chanti Bongat. “So, it is very important for us to win this game para umayos ‘yung standing namin and para it would be easier for us get to the top part of the [table].”
After Cochise Diolata and the Lady Maroon defense held the fort during the top of the ninth inning. It was up to the offense to do their job.
Pinch runner Cai de Luna, the designated runner at second base, took advantage of a catching error by Ghene Nietes to lift the Lady Maroons to victory.
“I saw them na that they really wanted to win this game. I saw how they fought to keep our lead: that one-point lead, to protect it lang. I was super proud of them,” Bongat shared about her team.
The Lady Maroons held a 1-0 lead during the third inning but a throwing error by UP short stop Panjie Legaspi in the seventh inning led to a Mary Lumhud run to extend the contest.
Mary Joy Ramos drew first blood in the eighth inning. A Keith Ferrer was able to knot things up at the bottom end of the inning.
“Our coaches told us and Gelai and I told the team to play our best na lang this game and enjoy it,” the team skipper expressed. “‘Cause we noticed na the two games we won, we really enjoyed it and three losses namin parang it was heavy. So, we just brought back ‘yung feeling ng excitement to the team and the game.”
Cochise Diolata pitched all nine innings, striking out five batters while giving up just four hits. NU had 12 runners stranded on base.