by Marisse Gabrielle Panaligan
The University of the Philippines succumbed against defending champion Ateneo de Manila University, 14-7, following a defensive collapse as early as the bottom of the second inning in the UAAP Baseball Tournament Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Despite both teams collecting 10 hits each, the Blue Eagles amassed a big lead after the Fighting Maroons lapsed into crucial errors one after another.
Following a strong start after earning three runs at the top of the second, the Maroons suddenly found themselves growing cold on defense. The Eagles instantly took back three runs after Gab Rodriguez threw three dead balls and a walk at the bottom of the inning.
Relief pitcher John Pantan hit a single at the top of the third to once again push UP ahead. Gilbert Clanza followed up in the fourth with a grounder to second to send Martin Senador home, 5-3.
Ateneo came back with a vengeance right after, converting three hits including a triple from Adriane Bernardo. The Eagles also earned an additional run from a throwing error by Maroon catcher Clanza to surge head, 6-5.
The Loyola-based squad did not look back from then on, taking advantage of UP’s unsteady defense to balloon their lead to 11-5. Nothing seemed to work on the mound for the Maroons, who used five pitchers in the game to no avail.
The Diliman-based squad rallied at the top of the eighth as Gerron Sagarang crossed the plate on a Karl Peralta single. Peralta also made it back home after Ateneo catcher Ryon Tionloc failed to catch Nacho Cojuangco’s pitch, 12-7.
After a pick off error from Clanza that sent Raphael Balagtas home for the Eagles, Peralta threw a wild pitch that resulted in another run for Ateneo, 14-7. The game ended at the top of the ninth after UP failed to score.
The Maroons have yet to win in three outings, also losing to Adamson University in their second game. Their debut game against University of Santo Tomas, which was stopped due to darkness with UP leading 7-5 at the bottom of the sixth, would be continued on the second round.