MANILA -- Defending champion De La Salle University used a fifth-inning scoring binge to dominate University of Santo Tomas in an abbreviated seven-inning contest, winning 11-1 in the UAAP Season 85 Baseball tournament on Wednesday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
The Green Batters, who moved up to 3-1 and second place, turned a relatively close margin of 5-1 into a huge 10-run cushion against UST pitcher Prince Harry Geronimo.
La Salle's entire batting order faced Geronimo in the said frame, starting with Iggy Escaño, who got on base due to a throwing error by catcher Junel Cruz off a dropped third strike. Three hits from Arman Villamiel, Julius Diaz, and Lord Aragorn De Vera drove in the runs for the final score, before Escaño was retired on a fly ball to left field for the third out.
"Sabi ko nga after nung first two wins namin, 'Sana nakapag-adjust na kayo.' Ang nangyayari kasi sa 'min. kailangan pang maka-score yung kalaban bago kami magising," Green Batters coach Joseph Orillana said on the previous comeback wins.
"Kailangan simula pa lang fire na para magtuloy yung momentum at magiging resulta, big inning in the middle of the game tulad ngayon," the La Salle great added.
De La Salle had a good start as they scored five runs in the first three innings, with Shinji Kajihara and De Vera both scoring in the first and third innings.
The Green Batters saw great hitting from De Vera, who paced the squad with three hits on four at-bats, along with two RBIs and two runs.
Joshua Pineda was solid at the mound, limiting UST to a solitary run in eight hits, before Peter Nonaillada and Renato Samuel were both credited with saves.
Cruz and Mhigeil Selda were the lone bright spots for the Golden Sox offense, with one hit each in the third inning. Cruz scored on Selda's double to the right-field foul line.
UST needed three pitchers, with starting pitcher Geronimo getting hit hard by De La Salle's offensive blast of 11 runs in nine hits. Relief pitchers Irvin Llave and Michael Cabang did enough to limit the opponent to just six at-bats thereafter.