The University of Santo Tomas Tiger Softbelles are now riding a four-game winning streak.
After finishing the first round in a logjam for third place, the Espana-based squad are now tied for second after a dismantling of the National University Lady Bulldogs 7-0 in an abbreviated fifth inning win Monday morning at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Malate, Manila.
Ann Antolihao, who had a whopping ten strikeouts against La Salle last Saturday, started again for the Yellow-and-Black. In this game, she only allowed three hits against the powerful NU batting order.
“Sa pitching, iilang lang yung hits nila,” UST head coach Sandy Barredo said.
It was the team’s outfielders who did all the work in shutting out the Lady Bulldogs with ten flyouts, three coming from left fielder Kristine Lacupa. Also the team’s lead-off batter, Lacupa set the tone for the offense as well.
UST’s first two runs in the game came from a string of errors by the Jhocson Street-based squad. After a groundout of Lacupa in the opening inning, Hannah dela Torre was walked by Mia Macapagal. Celestine Palma was then able to gain base as well after a failed fielders choice attempt by the defense. In another fielders choice situation, slugger CJ Roa was tagged out for second base for two outs. The Lady Bulldogs though could not seal the deal in the inning as an error by NU shortstop Dyan Arago paved the way for dela Torre and Palma to gain base for a 2-0 lead.
After two scoreless innings, the Tiger Softbelles opened the bottom of the fourth with two quick outs. Jessie Belano salvaged the inning with a single followed by Lacupa’s second hit of the game. A catching error by Arago while dela Torre was at bat gave UST two more runs. The two-out rally was capped by a Palma single that cleaned up the bases.
With the Lady Bulldogs’ morale down to a zilch, CJ Roa, Luisse Garde, and Charm Oria put the nail to the coffin for the game. The troika connected on three consecutive singles that cemented a 7-0 mercy rule win for the Tiger Softbelles.
“Ang ganda ng pitching ni Antolihao. Game analization lang naman yan, tayo mahina tayo nung first round,” Barredo shared. “Konteng strategy lang yan at maganda yung nilaro ng mga bata.”
Now aiming for a top two spot, Barredo is hopeful that they can take the next two games before facing Adamson. “Hopefully, hopefully. Ateneo yung next game then UP. Pag-aaralan natin yung UP next. If we win against UP, masosolidify yung placing natin,” he closed. “Then play against Adamson. Hindi ko sinasabi na hindi kaya, pero malakas sila.”
The UST Tiger Softbelles return to the diamond on Saturday, February 27 against the Ateneo Lady Eagles at 11am. On the other hand, NU looks to bounce back on Wednesday, February 24 against the UP Lady Maroons at 11am.
|NU (2nd, 6-3)||X||X||3||4|
|UST (3rd, 6-3)||2||3||2||X||X||7||7||1|