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UAAP 85 Baseball: Joshua Pineda shackles UP as La Salle moves to verge of back-to-back


Defending champion De La Salle University is one win away from taking back-to-back UAAP Baseball championships after escaping University of the Philippines, 9-8, in Game 1 of the best-of-three finals on Tuesday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.

The Green Batters will look to clinch the championship – the school’s sixth – in Game 2 on Friday with home-field advantage at 3:30 p.m.

DLSU was coming off a 9-8 walk-off victory against the same team to close out the elimination round three days ago. This time, though, Joshua Pineda and the Green Batters dug deep to avoid falling into the same circumstance in the series opener.

Pineda took control of the defense, steering the Green Batters’ stand on the mound. He limited the Fighting Maroons to two hits in the 5 1/3 innings in lieu of Flores and Pineda, striking out two of the last three batters.

“Well, sinasabi ko sa kanila nga na this is a championship game. Expect na hindi magiging madali ‘yung laban,” said Green Batters head coach Joseph Orillana.

Down 4-8, DLSU unleashed a five-run fifth inning to take the lead at 9-8, which turned the tides of the game.

Senior third baseman Julius Diaz started the rally off with his lone hit of the game, a single to the middle of the field and out of reach of UP second baseman Fritz Natanauan.

A throwing error by Maroons’ third baseman Mark Tuballas on an attempted out to first base put Diaz and centerfielder Shinji Kajihara on first and third base. A fielder’s choice saw Diaz get and Kajihara to scoring positions, which eventually scored off a hit from right-fielder Pio Villamiel, cutting the deficit to two at 6-8.

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Shortstop Vince Flores then added another hit to the middle that scored Villamiel and relief pitcher Lord Aragorn De Vera, before crossing the plate himself to snag the lead for good at 9-8 with another hit from second baseman Joseph Alcontin.

“Eto ano to eh, both teams magiging pressured dahil nga first time lang din na humarap sa championship, ang isa lang dito is ay si Joshua [Pineda]. So sabi ko dalhin na nila ‘yung team, kumbaga, nag-parehas ang labanan,” added Orillana, also the pitcher who led La Salle to the UAAP Season 65 title.

“Kumbaga unahan lang ‘to, pa-kontian ng errors, padamihan ng hits.”

A huge second inning put UP in the driver’s seat with five runs on three hits with returning centerfielder Ian Mercado getting his first of his two hits in the day.

UP captain Mark Tuballas scored two runs in the second and third innings, while Fritz Natanauan added two runs in the second and fourth innings, setting up the 8-4 margin heading into the fifth.

Kobe Torres, who started as UP’s designated hitter, took the mound after La Salle equalized at eight. He eventually limited the latter but it was not enough to give UP the win.

The Line
Game 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
DLSU 400 050 000 9 10 1
UP 051 200 000 8 8 2

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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