NATIONAL University ended its UAAP Season 85 Baseball tournament campaign on a winning note, taking a rousing 11-3 rout of Ateneo de Manila University on Saturday at the UP Diliman Baseball Field.
UAAP Season 81 Best Pitcher, MJ Carolino, showed up with a no-relief nine-inning work, limiting the Blue Eagles to just one run on one hit in the first inning before the latter broke with two more in the seventh inning.
The senior pitcher finished with nine batters struck out in the process, putting the Bulldogs in fifth place at 4-6.
“Skill-wise, andun na kami,” Bulldogs head coach Egay Delos Reyes said. “Pero kung makikita mo sa mga games namin, kinulang kami dun sa mental aspect. Understandable naman kasi unang-una walang liga, kulang sa exposure, and itong mga 'to puro first-timers.
“Hopefully, we learned something from this season para by next season madala namin at makapag-contend uli kami,” he continued.
Carolino's confidence on the mound was fueled by NU's turns on the offensive side that produced runs in four of the nine innings, including a huge fourth-inning barrage that started off with graduating leftfielder Reynante Aranzano's hit to the middle of the park.
First baseman Keishi Okamoto then sent a base hit along the leftfield foul line to extend the two-run lead to four, scoring Aranzanso and designated hitter Julius Soriano. Rightfielder Nigel Paule and Kevin Maulit added two more to mount a 6-0 advantage.
Okamoto ended with a four-hit-on-five-at-bat performance that also drove four of the Bulldogs' 11 runs. Maulit added two hits on three at-bats and sent three of his batter-runners home, even scoring thrice himself in the third, fourth, and sixth innings.
Ateneo got on the board first as graduating designated hitter Joaquin Alcaraz scored on a sacrifice fly by his fellow graduating senior and centerfielder Geof Magsadia. Alcaraz eventually closed off his UAAP career with another run in the seventh, along with graduating captain Aloy Tuprio, and finished with three hits on four at-bats.
The Blue Eagles needed three pitchers to stop the Bulldogs, but it was Luis Casanova that eventually impeded the NU rally with just three runs in the three innings he pitched in relief of Ethan Mitschiener.
Ateneo finished in sixth place with a 2-8 win-loss card, ending the season with eight straight losses. This is the Blue Eagles' worst finish since Season 72.
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