In what looked like a game that was going to be decided by a crucial play, the UST Growling Tigers stunned the Green Batters with a tenth inning surge to hand them their second loss, 10-3. With the win, UST improves to a 3-1 win-loss record while DLSU now sports a 2-2 record with one more game remaining in the first round.
According to head coach Joseph Orillana, costly errors and unusually quiet at bats by the Green Batters were what enabled UST to triumph. “Mabigat yung errors namin at sabi ko laban ito ng mental toughness eh, kung sino bumigay yun [matatalo] eh. Ang ganda ng pinukol ng pitcher eh ang problema ay hindi natulungan sa paluan. Kayang kaya naman nila paluan yung pitcher [ng UST],” he shares.
(Our errors weighed us down. I mentioned that this was a game of mental toughness, wherein the one who gives in loses. Our pitcher pitched very well. The problem was that they weren’t connecting against a pitcher they have the ability to hit off.)
Both teams were off to a slow start, as the first two innings of the match were scoreless. The Growling Tigers then broke the silence with an Run Batted In (RBI) from Vince Mangapis to send Israel Antonio home. In the succeeding innings, the Green Batters were unable to respond as they were plagued by fly balls and ground outs. UST went on to tally two more runs, as Mark Beronilla hit a two-run single that allowed Adrian Aguilar and Ivan Llave to cross the plate, which gave UST a 3-0 lead at the top of the fifth.
The Green Batters would then respond at the bottom of the inning to score two runs of their own. After back-to-back doubles by Diego Lozano and Boo Barandiaran that put them in scoring position, UST was prompted to replace starting pitcher Vince Mangapis with Christian Dela Cruz. With Kiko Gesmundo at the plate, a passed ball allowed Lozano to score a run. This was followed by a sac fly by Gesmundo that sent Barandiaran home, which cut the deficit to one run.
In the seventh inning, the leadoff hitter Lozano sent one down the right field line for a double. With the next two batters getting retired, Ignacio Escaño ripped one deep to right center for an Run Batted In (RBI) triple to tie the game, 3-3.
Both teams held their own at the ninth inning, as both pitchers completed 1-2-3 innings to force the game to a tenth inning. However, Barandiaran, who pitched all nine innings, showed signs of fatigue, which forced the coaching staff to replace him with Gesmundo. DLSU’s pitching change did not faze the Growling Tigers as they exploded to score ten runs, which was highlighted by a two-run double by Aguilar that was sent to deep left field. With the Green-and-White unable to respond, the Growling Tigers were able to notch their third win of the tournament.
Looking forward to their next game, Orillana states that they have to polish their defense and rediscover their hitting, which was absent in today’s match. “Walang ibang paraan kung di lamaban sa paluan and at the same time dapat maganda ang pinupukol ng pitcher tapos depensa nalang, depensa ng infield doon marami errors eh. Ang paluan ang hindi nagcoconnect ngayon kaya dapat next game mag connect sila,” he expresses.
(There’s no other way but to fight it out through hitting, and at the same time, the pitcher should be pitching well. Also, the defense should be there, especially at the infield, where most of the errors came from. The hitting that was absent today should be present during the next game.)
The Green Batters hope to rediscover their winning ways in a match against the AdU Soaring Falcons on Sunday, March 3, at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.