After uncharacteristically connecting just two times against the Adamson Soaring Falcons last Sunday, the De La Salle University Green Batters pushed the pedal against last season’s silver medalists University of Santo Tomas Golden Sox, taking an emphatic 13-6 win to close out Wednesday’s action at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
“After nung first game sabi ko sa kanila na never nangyari sa amin yun, two hits? Right after ng game na yun, nag-training kami na puro hitting. Pinakuha ko sa kanila yung kanilang rhythm against every type of pitch,” said La Salle head coach Joseph Orillana.
“Para manalo kami sa UST convincingly, kailangan namin yung hits. Ayun, naka-14 hits kami today,” added the champion tactician.
The UAAP Season 78 champions stormed right out of the gate during the first two innings, connecting three times that helped erect a 4-0 lead. The Golden Sox though stormed right back by the next three innings, slicing the lead to just 5-6 — highlighted by a solo home run by Alwen Albang during the fifth inning.
However, the Green Batters were just heating up. La Salle was able to pick up three runs each during the seventh and eighth innings that forced UST head coach Jeffrey Santiago to scramble from his bullpen. Paulo Salud provided the spark during the seventh inning with a two-RBI triple while Kiko Gesmundo uncorked a solo home run in the next inning.
Salud went 2-of-5 at-bat, resulting to two RBIs and two runs, while their first game hero Kiko Gesmundo, who played third base this game, had four RBIs and two runs. Returning senior Cholo Dominguez had three runs, an RBI, and a stolen base.
“Maganda yung nilaro ni Salud today. Nagampanan din niya yung pinangako niya na babawi siya,” remarked Orillana.
However, the game was also marred by numerous confrontations as well.
During the first inning, as Diego Lozano went to punch in the first run, catcher Marlon Gonzales seemed to have tagged the runner as he made his way to home plate. However, the umpire deemed that Lozano was safe that drew a few unkind words from Santiago.
Later on in the sixth inning, UST reliever Jackson Acuna’s pitch went rogue on him, hitting Andre Palacios. In the next play, his pitch also hit Salud on the left shoulder. Frustrated, Salud allegedly cursed at Acuna before moving on.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed during those incidents.
UST exhausted four pitchers in the contest with starting pitcher Ian Llave giving up the most hits (four) and runs (five) during the three inning he pitched.
On the offensive end, the Golden Sox had 17 hits. Ron dela Cruz and Benedict Pedracio connected thrice respectively. However, La Salle’s defense was on-point, leaving eight runners stranded.
La Salle looks to make it three in a row on Sunday, February 11 when it takes on the NU Bulldogs. On the same day, UST hopes for a bounce back win when it takes on the UP Fighting Maroons.