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Blue Eagles snap losing skid, close in on UAAP baseball pennant

By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--Ateneo moved closer in completing a three-peat with a 7-3 decision of La Salle on Thursday in the UAAP Season 77 baseball championship series at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

Former MVP Matt Laurel belted a two-run single in the fourth inning to give the Blue Eagles a 4-3 lead.

Ateneo then put some separation in the sixth inning, taking a 6-3 advantage after Dio Remollo scored a two-run single.

Finally rediscovering the winning form, the Eagles can annex their third consecutive title with another victory in Game 2 slated next Thursday 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.

"As much as possible, we want to get Game 2, we don't want Game 3. Dominating din ang mga pitchers nila (Green Batters)," he added.

La Salle's pitching was impressive in the opener, as rookie Boo Barandian 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 strikeouts in one and two-third innings after replacing reigning MVP Andy Tan, who pitched the first seven and one-third innings.

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 batters in first place at 7-3.

Aside from his two RBIs, Matt Laurel also earned two walks for the Eagles.