MANILA, Philippines - Arianne Vallestero blasted a two-run inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning as National University tripped University of Santo Tomas, 5-3, yesterday to secure a first-ever trip to the UAAP Season 75 softball finals at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
With two outs and teammate Clarifer Singh in scoring position after slamming a triple in the previous at bat, Vallestero whacked it to left field for a round-tripper that gave NU a two-run cushion in the rubber match for the remaining finals seat against unbeaten defending champion Adamson.
Rutche Tanola pitched an easy 1-2-3 on the defensive end as the Lady Bulldogs finished off the Tigresses and stormed to the championship round in their very first stint in softball.
“In softball, the fight’s not over until you secured the last out. UST’s runs also came with two outs and that’s what happened with us, too (in the seventh inning),” said NU coach Saki Bacarisas in Filipino.
The Lady Bulldogs will meet three-peat-seeking AdU Lady Falcons in the finals beginning tomorrow, also at the Rizal diamond. The Lady Falcons enjoy a huge thrice-to-beat advantage for sweeping the 12-game eliminations.
“Compared to us first timers, Adamson has a lot of championship experience, so we’ll just have to enjoy the experience of playing in the finals,” said Bacarisas.
NU seized an early 3-0 lead at the top of the third but UST clawed back with two runs in the bottom third and punched in the equalizer in the sixth.