UAAP 80 Baseball: Defending champ Ateneo dominates UP in season opener
The Ateneo Blue Eagles made quick work of UP for a great start in their title defense in the UAAP Season 80 baseball tournament.
Defending UAAP baseball champions Ateneo Blue Eagles made quick work of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons to start their title defense in an abbreviated seventh-inning 13-3 win in the opening day of the UAAP Season 80 baseball tournament at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Coliseum Sunday.
The Blue Eagles scored six runs in the bottom of the second inning, highlighted by Enzo Orbeta's booming two-run-home run that hit the 313-foot fence in left field to lead 10-0.
Ateneo then proceeded to field in their second unit, and with their inexpereience, allowed UP score all of their three runs in the top of the fourth.
Marco Mallari then laid the icing on the cake as he stepped on the homeplate, courtesy of Leandro Ramos' RBI that went to right field.
Mallari's offense was hot, going 5-of-5 on hits.
"We were able to showcase our offense. That's really our forte. Paulo (Macasaet) was able to hold his ground, he showed he's one of the best pitchers, and it will be important all throughout the season," Ateneo assistant coach Bok Mercado said after the game.
In the previous game, the UST Golden Sox survived the gritty NU Bulldogs, 9-8.
Last year's first runner-ups took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, 5-2, scoring four runs. Benedict Pedracio, Alzer Jacinto, Noriel Valencia, and Gio Martinez all went home to home plate for UST.
Martinez completed a two-RBI-double, sending Pedracio and Jacinto home, while Jefferson Vergara made a sacrifice fly for Martinez.
The Bulldogs slowly tried to claw back, but UST kept their foot on the accelerator, responding in every comeback NU attempted.
NU kept close, and managed to cut UST's lead to one in the top of the ninth, 9-8, but Jerome Tenorio's flyball got caught, preserving UST's first win of the season.
Golden Sox head coach Jeffrey Santiago was very much satisfied with his team's offense, but noted that his squad, noted for their multiple pitchers, lacked on that end.
"Parang kailangan pang dagdagan ang pitching, nauubos eh. In fact, apat ang pitcher na nandoon, tumatama pa ang kalaban. Kailangan pa siguro pang i-inspire ang pitchers natin," Santiago said.
One of the best pitchers to play in the UAAP added that his team definitely needed to make a wide lead, because they anticipated that NU was going to fight back.
"Yung tatlong runs, apat na runs, 'di kasi gagaling yung opensa eh. Hindi pa assurance yan eh. Hangga't 'di pa natatapos ang game, hindi mo puwedeng isuko, hindi puwedeng magkumpiyansa."
In the first game, the De La Salle University Green Batters escaped the pesky Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 3-2.
Josh Salinas broke the 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning courtesy of Paolo Salud's groundball RBI that went to the center-right field.
Adamson did not manage to tie the game in the ninth as Bryan Castillo's flyball went safely into the hands of the La Salle defense.
"Actually, inexpect ko na tough game ito. Adamson is one of the contenders sa liga natin ngayon. Lahat ng game ngayon, we need to treat it as a championship game. Walang mahina ngayon," said Green Batters head coach Joseph Orillana.
The UAAP baseball tournament will continue on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the same venue.
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