DE La Salle completed a first-round sweep of the UAAP Season 76 baseball tournament with a nail-biting 8-7 win over University of the Philippines on Sunday at the Rizal Memorial ballpark.
Basti Uichico crushed a three-run triple in the second inning but the Archers still needed to survive a furious charge by the Maroons in the ninth inning to complete the sweep.
The Taft-based batters ended their first-round campaign with a perfect 5-0 win-loss slate.
Felix Imperial singled, Christopher Perlas was hit by a pitch, and Francisco Hashimoto reached safely on a catching error to load the bases and set up Uichico’s bases-clearing hit at the top of the second inning.
Carlos Munoz also reached first base on another error to advance Uichico home for a 5-1 lead midway through the second.
But after holding a comfortable 8-3 lead, La Salle found itself leadng by only one run when UP’s Mikmik Herrera slammed a two-out two-run single to center field, 7-8.
However, the Green Archers caught Herrera stealing second base to end the game.
Defending champion Ateneo, meanwhile, defeated National University, 3-2, in a rematch of last year’s finals to solidify its hold of second place with a 4-1 card.
Dio Remollo and Raphael Antonio Balagtas had run-scoring at-bats in the first inning with the Blue Eagles pitching duo of Andrew Tan and Adrian Bernardo also coming through on defense to protect their lead.
Adrian Bernardo blasted a triple to left field to lead off the bottom of the first inning before easily trotting home on a single by Remollo, who was later thrown out at the plate on a bases loaded situation. But Balagtas pushed Matt Laurel home on a sacrifice fly and the bases full to peg Ateneo’s lead to 2-0.
Tan and Bernardo staved off NU’s batters allowing only seven hits. Bernardo also issued a two-out strikeout to Herxel Fortunato with the bases loaded to end the top of the fifth inning which turned out to be a game-saving out.
Not even the presence of NU owner Hans Sy could spark a resurgence for the Bulldogs who absorbed their third loss in four outings.
Meanwhile, Andrew Mercado pitched a complete game while yielding just five hits as University of Santo Tomas beat Adamson, 12-5, for its first win.
NU, UST, UP, and Adamson are now tied with similar 1-3 win-loss records.
The first round formally ends on Thursday at the Rizal ballpark with the resumption of the UP-UST and Adamson-NU matches that were called off due to darkness.
Team standings: DLSU 5-0, Ateneo 4-1, NU 1-3, UST 1-3, UP 1-3, Ateneo 1-3.