The defending two-time UAAP Baseball Champions the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Batters opened their UAAP Season 77 campaign with a close 5-3 win over a young Adamson Soaring Falcons squad.
The pitching of the Blue Batters started slow in the bottom of the 1st inning as 2nd and 3rd Soaring Falcon batters, rookie Gerald Riparip and senior Melvin Rosita, went on base due to base-on-balls and a single respectively. With two players on base for the Falcons, UAAP Season 76 Most Valuable Player Andy Tan was able to negate the gained bases with a strikeout of Jerome Yenson.
Scoring for the game opened at the top of the 2nd when Lorenzo Ramos hit a double to left field. A catching error by Adamson shortstop Riparip led to a Ramos run from a Cesar Esguerra single. Runs from Esguerra, Remollo, and Adriane Bernardo gave the defending champions a 4-0 lead. AdU head coach Orlando Binario had to switch 1st year pitcher Marvin Camposanto for Lourence Ruiz in hopes of stopping the Ateneo run. Ruiz and the fielders were successful the rest of the way giving up just a run at the top of the 8th.
Jaime Cojuanco moved to the pitcher’s position at the bottom of the 4th inning but struggled in his Season 77 debut. The bottom of the 5th inning had AdU team captain Nelson Salazar score coming from a single by Ruiz. Yenson and Ruiz also scored runs for the Soaring Falcons to trim the deficit to a single run.
Both teams struggled to put up runs in the next three innings. At the top of the 8th, Raphael Balagtas scored a run thanks to Inigo Untalan’s RBI to give the Blue Batters a 5-3 lead.
To close the final two innings out for the defending champions, rookie Paulo Macasaet made his UAAP Seniors debut. The rookie struck out four of seven batters from Adamson and gave up just one hit to secure the win for the Blue Batters.
Bernardo led the batters from Katipunan with 1R, 4H, and 1RBI. Reigning MVP Tan gave up only one hit and struck-out five batters while closer Macasaet struck-out four.
The next game for the ADMU Blue Batters will be on Thursday, January 29 against the UP Fighting Maroons while the Soaring Falcons will face the UST Golden Sox on the same day.