Building off their momentum from another UAAP Season 85 victory last Wednesday, the DLSU Green Batters added a gritty 9-6 win over the AdU Soaring Falcons earlier today, March 19, at the UP Diliman Baseball Field. The team was down early in the first inning, but they nevertheless displayed their tenacity and desire to win behind excellent relief pitching from Aragorn De Vera and important bats from Josh Pineda.
Back and forth
The opening inning saw the Green Batters concede three runs to the Soaring Falcons while also failing to deliver the offense at the bottom of the inning. Trailing at 3-0, the top of the second inning closed with a 8-3 double play with no runs scored for the Soaring Falcons. On offense, it was cleanup hitter Ignacio Escaño’s first at bat where he hit a ground ball to third to get on base—which was then followed by a walk on Renato Samuel. A perfect bunt was then laid by Pineda, who was in prime position to advance the runners, while also finding himself on base. With the bases loaded, La Salle had two batters walk to cut the Adamson lead, 3-2.
It was a scoreless third inning for the two Manila-based teams, but the following inning saw both sides score runs. The defense of La Salle allowed two runs to be scored at the top of the fourth inning due to walks and Adamson’s single base hit, extending their lead, 5-2. Alleviating the defensive woes, Head Coach Joseph Orillana opted to call on right-handed pitcher De Vera as his side’s reliever. The bottom of the fourth started with a ground rule double for Pineda but he was not joined on base until John Mhark Segui and Julius Diaz were hit by pitches. With the bases loaded and two outs, center fielder Shinji Kajihara was able to hit a two-runs-batted-in single through the second base gap to cut, cutting the Soaring Falcon lead back to one, 5-4.
De Vera was exceptional on the mound as he pitched four straight shutout innings to help his team take the reins. Making the most of their stellar defense, it was Pineda who hit a line drive in the 6-5 hole in the fifth inning, sending the baserunner home on a runs-batted-in triple that was almost an inside-the-park homerun. Now tied at 5-all, Vincent Flores continued the slugging for the Green and White in the 6th inning with a push hit to right field that became a three-base hit. A well-placed bunt from Segui then advanced the runner to give the Green Batters the lead, 6-5. Finding himself in a two strike and two ball count—with two outs and runners on first and second base—De Vera hit the ball to right-center field resulting in a two runs-batted-in, three-base hit. He was then sent home by Escaño’s single-base hit between first and second base.
As the only remaining player from the previous championship roster, Escaño was the most vocal on and off the field. Despite going down and chasing Adamson’s lead early in the game, the third baseman shared that he told the team, “This is our time to show up, this is what we’ve worked hard for” especially emphasizing to make the most of every opportunity to help the team win.
The Green Batters were able to score four runs at the end of the sixth, giving them the lead, 9-5. After the sixth inning, the team was able to successfully defend their lead, only conceding a single run at the top of the ninth inning. “Our game is really starting to show,” voiced the veteran Escaño, hinting that more is in store as the team continues to get better. With a final score of 9-6, the DLSU Green Batters notch their second win of the tournament, improving their record to 2-1.
The DLSU Green Batters return to the diamond on Wednesday, March 22 at 11:30 am at the same venue as they square off against the UST Growling Tigers.