The University of Santo Tomas extended its revenge tour with a fourth-straight victory in the second round of the UAAP Season 85 Baseball tournament, beating National University 11-6 on Wednesday, Apr. 12, at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
The Golden Sox, who remain in the hunt for bronze, moved to fourth place with a 4-5 win-loss record, just behind third-placed Adamson University’s 5-4 before their clash on Saturday.
In contrast, the Bulldogs slipped to fifth place with a 3-6 record, ending their bronze hopes with the loss.
With the pressure of making the Finals lifted off following De La Salle University’s earlier win against Ateneo, UST head coach Jeff Santiago reminded his players what he wanted from them at the start of the round.
“Pagpatuloy lang nila ‘yung pakiramdam nila na ganyan. Ang sa ‘kin kasi more on the mind game ‘eh. Actually, isang beses lang kaming nag-ensayo mula nung last game. Ito na lang, 90 percent mental tayo. O, tignan mo, masaya tayo,” he said.
“Wala sa ‘kin kung manalo o matalo. Hindi ko sila pinepressure. Ang sa ‘kin is to give your 100 percent best,” he continued.
With the Bulldogs hot on their tails heading into the last two innings as they held a precarious one-run lead of 7-6, UST turned to their offense once more and eventually scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings to put away the game for good.
Captain and leftfielder Mhiegeil Cerda and rookie second baseman Justine Rosales picked up from where they left off in the third inning, scoring the insurance runs in the eighth inning, before substitute first baseman John Areglado and catcher June Cruz added two more in the final inning.
Cerda and Rosales earlier starred in the third inning where UST snagged the lead from NU, with the former scoring off a base hit from starting first baseman Bryan Camarsi, while the latter carved an inside-the-park home run that brought rightfielder Reymond Vargas with him.
The Bulldogs made it a game in the seventh inning, with Kenneth Maulit blasting his only hit of the game – his own homerun – that cut the deficit to two at 5-7 before his catcher Kent Altarejos put score pressure on the Santiago-mentored side heading into the last two frames.
UST relief pitcher Barsales, however, stopped the opponents in their tracks, limiting them to those two more runs and taking care of the next eight batters, striking three of them out, including the last two in Altarejos and shortstop Cyril Antipolo, to end his three-inning stint on the mound.
Barsales’ opposite number, MJ Carolino, on the other hand, bore the weight of the Golden Sox’s hot streak of 12 of the 18 hits and seven of the 11 runs in the three-and-one-third innings he pitched.