ATENEO used a three-run binge in the sixth inning to pull off a come-from-behind 6-2 victory over defending champion National University and closed in on the UAAP baseball title on Friday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
The Blue Eagles took advantage of a fielding error by the Bulldogs in the sixth to chalk up the go-ahead run that led to the Game One victory.
Starting rookie pitcher Miguel Salud fanned six NU batters and yielded two runs on seven hits for the Blue Eagles, who will go for a sweep of the title series when Game Two is played on Tuesday afternoon at the Rizal ballpark.
Ateneo has yet to lose against NU this season, counting a sweep of its two head-to-head match-ups in the eliminations.
The school will also try to avenge its loss to NU in last year’s championship series.
Ateneo manager Emerson Barandoc credited the players for pouncing on that big fielding error by the reigning champion that began with a bases-loaded situation with no out.
“Sabi ko sa kanila nung down kami by two, nakuha na natin `yung first and second round. Kailangan natin bumawi ngayon,” said Barandoc.
“Pitcher namin, maganda ang ginawa. Sa kanya lahat. Tapos nag-connect pa ‘yung mga hitters namin,” added the Ateneo manager.
Marcial Gante connected on a run-scoring single in the sixth that was followed by a similar hit by Aprix Santos for a 2-0 lead.
Shortly after Ateneo got into the scoreboard on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Kevin Ramos in the bottom of the sixth, Gante committed an error at center field when he allowed Ryan Tionloc’s single to get pass him. The miscue allowed Boc Boc Bernardo and Dio Remollo to cross home plate and give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
Ateneo’s lead swelled when Matt Laurel slammed a solo home run to left field. The Blue Eagles also scored two insurance runs in the eighth.
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