Even if the Bulldogs did not field their usual nine on the field, the De La Salle University Green Batters settled for a 6-0 shutout of the National University, Wednesday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
NU head coach Saki Bacarisas decided to bench ace pitcher Junmar Diarao, centerfielder Jerome Tenorio, leftfielder Alfredo de Guzman, and shortstop Clarence Caasalan due to disciplinary sanctions. The quartet were only brought in during the seventh inning.
Despite this, the Green Batters did not take advantage, connecting just seven times in the contest, which drew the ire of head coach Joseph Orillana. Three of La Salle’s hits came from their strong first inning with doubles from Paolo Salud and Diego Lozano and a single by Kiko Gesmundo.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘Ine-expect ko na mas malaki yung runs namin dahil hindi intact yung first nine ng NU.’ Hindi ko alam kung nakisabay sila sa kanila or nag-iba lang yung tema ng laro,” said Orillana, who steered the team to the top of the UAAP back in Season 78.
“Hindi ito yung team na gustong mag-champion. Dapat baguhin nila ito dahil second round na. Pag ganiyan ang laruin nila, may kalalagyan kami,” he added.
La Salle’s lack of consistent hitting in the contest resulted in seven runners stranded.
Fortunately for La Salle, Kiko Gesmundo, who has been having a spectacular season, struck out seven NU batters while allowing just three hits in six innings pitched. Arvin Herrera closed out the contest.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Iggy Escano was the sole bright spot for La Salle on offense, going 3-of-4 at-bat, two doubles and a triple, for two RBIs.
“Alarming ito. ‘Pag ganiyan ang laro nila against teams like UST or Adamson, mahihirapan kami. Nakakabahala kasi baka iniisip nila ganun kadaling makahabol,” lamented Orillana.
Still, La Salle are now on top of the table with a 5-1 record, while NU drop to a 1-5 slate.
Sheerwin Acta made his first-ever UAAP start for NU.
La Salle will next face the University of Santo Tomas Golden Sox on Sunday, February 25. NU, on the other hand, take on the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles on the same day.