THE Ateneo Blue Batters are almost there.
They moved closer to completing a three-peat with a 7-3 thumping of La Salle yesterday in the 77th University Athletic Association of the Philippines baseball championship series at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium yesterday.
Former MVP Matt Laurel unleashed a two-run single in the fourth inning to give the Blue Eagles a 4-3 lead.
They then moved away in the sixth inning, taking a 6-3 advantage after
Dio Remollo scored a two-run single.
The Eagles can clinch their third consecutive title with another victory at the Rizal ballpark.
“Our three straight losses served as a wake up call for us. We were able to adjust and I think we have a flawless game sa defense,” said Ateneo coach Randy Dizer.
La Salle’s pitching was impressive in the opener, as rookie Boo Barandiaran struck out six batters while Carlos Munoz had three strike outs.
Not to be outdone are the Eagles, as rookie pitcher Paulo Macasaet had two strike outs in one and two-third innings after replacing reigning MVP Andy Tan, who pitched the first seven and one-third innings.
“As much as possible, we want to get Game 2, we don’t want Game 3. Their pitchers are dominating (Green Batters),” said Dizer.
After conceding an early run, the Green Batters took a 3-1 lead in the second inning after Carly Laurel popped a two-run single to the centerfield.
Ateneo opened the season with seven straight wins before faltering late in the eliminations, allowing La Salle to tie the Katipunan-based battees in first place at 7-3.