DE LA SALLE University mounted a huge fourth-inning rally and a solid defensive stand to retain the UAAP Baseball title with an 8-4 win over top seed University of the Philippines in Game 2 of the best-of-three Finals on Friday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
This is the Green Batters’ sixth overall title and third in the last eight years.
Coming off a 9-8 win in Game One last Tuesday, Green Batters head coach Joseph Orillana reminded his wards prior to the game to not be complacent, knowing the power of the Fighting Maroons battery.
“Ayun nga sabi ko sa team na, walang kumpyansa, walang magre-relax kasi ang sabi ko nga, mas maganda kunin namin tong second game na ‘to ‘yung mag hungrier kami, ‘yung mas gustong gusto namin manalo kaya ayun sabi ko, stay focused, and then just stay shot, which is ‘yun naman nasunod,” said Orillana, who also won the crown as pitcher for the Green Batters back in UAAP Season 65.
A crucial catching error by UP centerfielder Ghian Geronimo at the bottom of the fourth inning proved detrimental to the top seeds as it filled up the bases for the Green Batters with designated hitter Vince Flores, second baseman Joseph Alcontin, and leftfielder John Mhark Segui.
DLSU’s graduating third baseman Julius Diaz then blasted a huge triple to centerfield that emptied the bases, putting his squad up by five, 7-2.
The Fighting Maroons tried to mount a comeback in the seventh inning, scoring two with rookies Fritz Natanauan and Nano Asuncion crossing the plate off a huge hit from relief pitcher Kobe Torres that cut the deficit to three, 4-7.
The Green Batters then turned to defense, with eventual Finals Most Valuable Player Joshua Pineda anchoring the last three outs. Pineda struck out Miggy Reyes before helping his infielders get easy outs to put an end to the two-hour-and-30-minute battle.
Pineda, a graduating pitcher out of Concepcion, Tarlac who was also the hero of Game 1, pitched 8 1/3 innings, striking out three UP batters.
Torres bore much of the weight of that five-run binge, spoiling an otherwise solid four and two-third innings he pitched in lieu of season Best Pitcher Allen Mercado.
Flores finished the season with the Most Runs Batted-In with 16.
Justine Rosales of University of Santo Tomas bagged the Season MVP award after taking the Most Homeruns title with three and the Best Slugger (.865) awards.
Adamson University, which finished third this season, saw Raymond Nerosa take the Best Hitter (.465 average) and Bryan Castillo bag the Most Stolen Bases (eight SBs) awards.
Ateneo de Manila University’s Luis Capati was awarded as the top rookie.
Game 2 123 456 789 R H E
UP 101 000 200 4 9 4
DLSU 200 500 10x 8 12 3