Bulldogs snatch win from 7-run deficit, reach final
MANILA, Philippines - Its title reign on the brink, National University summoned its champion’s heart to rally past Santo Tomas, 12-7, and advance to the finals of the UAAP Season 75 baseball tournament at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium yesterday.
After trailing by 0-7 after the top of the second inning, the Bulldogs methodically clawed their way back with a string of runs and eventually gained control after the seventh and eighth innings en route to victory, which sent them to a title rematch with Ateneo.
The Eagles took the first finals seat after topping the elims with 8-2, leaving joint No. 2 NU and UST (both with 7-3) to a dispute for the second berth. Game One of the best-of-three title series will begin on Friday, also at the Rizal ballpark.
“We were undaunted by the early 7-0 lead of UST because my team has the heart of a champion,” said Bulldogs manager Wopsy Zamora.
The Bulldogs got into a tight fix early on, as starter Hogan Peralta issued four walks and gave up five runs in the first frame, before Aries Oruga checked in to put stability to the mound for NU.
“We knew Oruga can put out the fire while our batters can hit UST, so we took it one (run) at a time,” said NU coach Saki Bacarisas.
Oruga gave up two runs and seven hits overall, but his one-hit, run-less performance in the last six innings helped NU complete its amazing fightback.
Designated hitter Aprix Santos and leftfielder Herxel Fortunato sparked the Bulldogs’ offensive, fueling their four-run spree in the sixth that knotted the count at 7-7, and another three-run binge in the seventh that pushed them ahead, 10-7.