REIGNING MVP Andy Tan pitched seven solid innings, while Dio Remollo and Matt Laurel came up with key hits as Ateneo moved closer to a third straight title with a 7-3 win over La Salle on Thursday in the UAAP Season 77 baseball championship series at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Former MVP Laurel belted a two-run single in the fourth inning to give the Blue Eagles a 4-3 lead and Ateneo extended the lead to 6-3 after Remollo scored a two-run single in the sixth.
Rookie pitcher Paulo Macasaet had two strikeouts in one and two-third innings of relief.
Game Two is set next Thursday also at the Rizal ballpark.
“Our three straight losses served as a wake up call for us. We were able to adjust and I think we have a flawless game sa defense,” said Ateneo coach Randy Dizer.
“As much as possible, we want to get Game Two, we don't want Game Three. Dominating din ang mga pitchers nila,” he added.
La Salle rookie Boo Barandian struck out six batters and Carlos Munoz fanned three, but failed to get the run support.
After conceding an early run, the Green Batters took a 3-1 lead in the second inning after Carly Laurel popped a two-run single to the centerfield.
Ateneo opened the season with seven straight wins before faltering late in the eliminations, allowing La Salle to tie the Katipunan-based batters in first place at 7-3.