MARY Ann Antolihao struck out 13 as University of Sto. Tomas beat Ateneo, 3-0, at the start of second round of the UAAP women’s softball eliminations on Saturday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The right-handed Cebuana fireball, who had just recovered from an injury suffered last year, had all the 22 Ateneo batters at her mercy.
Antolihao, in her last year with coach Sandy Barredo’s team, had just retired the 12th hitter that crossed her path when she hit Ateneo’s lead-off batter, catcher Jamie Luz San Juan, in the fifth frame by a pitch.
That ruined Antolihao’s bid for greatness and her first ever perfect no-hit, no-run, no error feat.
Antolihao atoned for that by forcing San Juan out in a double play after Isabela Cassandra Trinidad ground out.
“Sayang, perfect game na sana,” rued tournament chief statistician Delia Pablo after the seven-inning contest. “But that’s how the cookie crumbles. Anyway, it was still brilliant performance by Antolihao.
“Bihira naman talaga ang nakaka-perfect game. For all we know, she didn’t even realize she was working for perfection until the game ended and she already failed,” said Pablo, a many-time member of the Philippine Blu Girls.
Antolihao continued her mastery of the Lady Eagles’ hitters, denying them access to the bases the rest of the way by retiring all the next 10 that came her way.
That was the Tigresses’ fifth win in seven times up as they look to be the team with the highest chance of denying the idle Lady Falcons of an eighth straight title.
The Lady Eagles, on the other hand, have yet to score a victory in seven starts.
National University needed a run in the ninth to repulse a stubborn University of the Philippines side. The win, the Bulldogs’ fourth, disentangled them from a three-way tie for third to fifth positions in the seven-team standing.
University of the East, likewise, extricated themselves from that logjam by working behind a seven-hit attack in the fifth to deal La Salle its sixth defeat, 9-0. The Lady Warriors and the Lady Bulldogs remained tied for third with 4-3 win-loss slates.