UAAP: Green Batters unable to build off strong third inning, fall to UP in season opener

The DLSU Green Batters began their title defense in the UAAP Season 85 with an unfortunate loss to the UP Fighting Maroons, 11-7, earlier today, March 12, at the UP Diliman Baseball Field. 

Coming in swinging 

DLSU started the game strong, with Shinji Kajihara sending the ball to the right field to get on base, eventually stealing home after a dropped ball by UP’s catcher. However, the Fighting Maroons managed to strike back immediately in the bottom of the first inning, going on a scoring explosion for five points.

After a scoreless second inning for both sides, the Taft-based team went off in the third. Aragorn De Vera sent Julius Diaz and Kajihara home after getting a ground ball through UP’s second base, cutting the deficit to just two, 5-3. Shortly after, Vincent Flores managed to hit a three-base dinger to send Ignacio Escaño, Renato Samuel, and Pio Villamiel home and take the lead for La Salle to end the top of the third inning, 6-5. However, the team from Diliman managed to pull back a point to even up the score at the end of the third frame, 6-all.

Losing their grip 

DLSU and UP went scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Fighting Maroons managed to pull away again in the sixth, 11-6, riding off their momentum from two successive doubles.

The Green and White managed to make a seventh-inning run after a walk on Villamiel, 11-7, but they were unable to do more with the bases loaded. La Salle was unable to make a breakthrough versus the tightened UP defense in the remaining innings, seeing them drop their first game of the season, 11-7.

After drastic roster changed to nearly all teams since the last UAAP Baseball tournament prior to the pandemic, DLSU Head Coach Joseph Orillana acknowledged that nervousness among the players is expected. The La Salle mentor explained, “‘Yung mga kalaban namin, mga first timers sa UAAP. May first [game] jitters ang mga yan. Same thing din sa amin.” 

Despite the pressure surrounding the defending champions, he advised his team, “Sabi ko [sa team ko] just play [naturally].” Orillana shared that he was happy with the performances of pitchers Joshua Pineda and De Vera but needs his team to do better defensively in their games to come. “Doon kami nagkaroon ng lapses,” he expounded.

Aiming to tally their first win of the season, the DLSU Green Batters will take the field again at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, March 15, when they match up against the NU Bulldogs at the same venue.

Diego Manzano

By Diego Manzano

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