Not having any margin for error, the DLSU Green Batters were able to get past the first place ADMU Blue Eagles, 8-5, earlier today at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Diamond. With the win, La Salle’s hopes of defending its crown remain alive and well for the moment.
Diego Lozano led the team as he went the distance. He held the potent Blue Eagle offense to just two earned runs. Arvin Herrera, who drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, had three hits in the winning effort.
ADMU was led by Javi Macasaet and Gino Tantuico. The prior had three hits and a walk while the latter drove in the game’s first two runs. The Blue Eagles did not use usual starter Paulo Macasaet, and instead relied on Miguel Dumlao and Miguel Angeles. The pair gave up five and three runs, respectively.
ADMU immediately put pressure on La Salle, after a Franco Hashimoto error gave the Blue-and-White another chance to drive in a run. With two outs, Renzo Ramos obliged, driving in J. Macasaet with a shot to right center field. Tantuico, the first baseman, then subsequently stroked a single to center field, that scored both Ryan Hilario and Ramos. With that, the Blue Eagles took an early three to nothing lead.
A Joaquin Bilbao RBI (Runs Batted In) single instantly got a run back for DLSU, at the top of the second inning, but it was not until the next inning, in which the Green Batters were able to tie the game at three. A triple from Kiko Gesmundo and a double from Les Cabiling, the designated hitter, drove in the former from third base.
Bilbao once again produced for La Salle, hitting a lead-off double, at the top of the fourth inning. While Andre Palacios and Hashimoto both grounded out to the shortstop, Dan Laurel a grounder by Paolo Salud, to the same player, caused problems and ended up as an error for ADMU. Due to the botched ground ball, Bilbao was able to strut home, safely, giving the Green-and-White its first lead of the ball game, 4-3. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, the Green Batters would tack on another, after a wild pitch let Salud get home untouched. With the DLSU lead at two, Dumlao would get Gesmundo out to stop the bleeding for the Blue Eagles.
At the top of the sixth inning, both J. Macasaet and Hilario were able to work walks against Lozano. With both of them in scoring position, after a Ramos bunt, a sacrifice fly from Tantuico and a crucial RBI double by Laurel, that just landed in fair territory down the right field line, again knotted the game between the long time rivals.
With a new pitcher in for ADMU, Angeles, the Lasallians were instantly able to load the bases against the rookie pitcher. Needing to score, Herrera would pull through for the team, hitting an RBI-single, that just got in between Marquis Alindongan and Tantuico in the infield. Angeles, however, would deduce a double play to end the inning there.
La Salle, though, would score twice again in the eighth inning, which gave Lozano just enough insurance runs to close out the game. With the game at 8-5, last year’s co-Finals Most Valuable Player was able to strike out Marco Mallari to end the game with a victory for DLSU.
A win in today’s game was necessary for La Salle to even have a chance of advancing to the Finals. With ADMU having already clinched a spot in the upcoming championship series, UST, who currently holds the second seed, DLSU, and AdU are still battling for the second spot.
With a win-loss record of 5-4, the Green Batters will need UST to lose its remaining two games against the Soaring Falcons and the Blue Eagles to have a chance.
As of press time, the game between UST and AdU was stopped in the twelfth inning, with the score tied at six, due to upcoming darkness. The game, which has multiple finals implications, will be continued at a later date. As for the Green Batters, they will resume action against the UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, March 12, at 7 am in the same venue, in what could be their last game of the season.