UAAP A Sunday night to remember for NU baseball. UAAP photo

NU bags UAAP baseball crown

April 22, 2024 Theodore P. Jurado 201 views

NATIONAL University snapped a 12-year title drought in UAAP baseball, dethroning La Salle, 4-2, in Game 2 of the UAAP Finals Sunday at the UP Field.

The Bulldogs claimed their fourth crown overall, but the first since 2012.

“Noong nakita ko itong mga bata na ito last season, sabi ko may skills naman, kulang lang sa puso. Kaya nung binigay sa akin yung trabaho, ‘yun talaga inuna ko,” said NU coach Romar Landicho.

“Happy ako sa pinakita nila kaya nakuha namin ito,” the first-year mentor added.

The loss ended the Green Batters two-season reign.

The Bulldogs turned to their bread and butter all season long: its defense.

Newly-minted Best Pitcher Amiel De Guzman ended the four-hour long game on his own terms with a strikeout on JR Samuel, denying La Salle with runners on second and third.

With the game hanging in the balance on a 2-2 deadlock in the sixth inning, NU reclaimed the two-run lead, capitalizing on its opponent’s errors.

The Bulldogs, who won Game 1 at 8-4 last Thursday, showed their intentions early, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Green Batters produced two runs, one each in the third and fourth innings, to level the proceedings.

NU, though, restored the cushion with a huge turnaround in the sixth inning.

Down with an out of the said frame, John Calanday pushed a hit to the middle and forced an error on La Salle second baseman JR Samuel to put a runner on first.

Two consecutive fielding errors saw Cyril Antipolo, who ran for Calanday, and Kevin Naulit crossing home for the differential runs before Green Batters’ substitute Joshua Pineda stopped bleeding with a pitch that Samuel finally caught.

The defense, though, from both sides deemed the advantage enough for the Bulldogs’ return to the throne.

Graduating pitcher MJ Carolino started and played seven and one-third to steer the victory, earning him the Finals MVP in his final UAAP game for NU.