by Jonas Terrado
Bianca Hernandez hit a two-run single in the third inning and pitcher Mary Ann Antolihao struck out seven batters as University of Santo Tomas stunned seven-time defending champion Adamson, 4-3, yesterday to move a win shy of ending its long title drought in the opener of their best-of-three UAAP softball finals at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
Hernandez broke a 2-all tie off Lady Falcons starter Lyca Baca, scoring Celestine Palma and Cristy Roa with two outs in the third before Antolihao, a member of the national softball team and playing her final year, retired 11 of the last 12 batters to seal the Tigresses’ victory.
UST, which last won the championship in 2010 before Adamson began its near-decade reign on the diamond, go for the sweep on Friday.
Back-to-back homers by Jeanet Rusia and Florabelle Pabiana gave Adamson a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second, but UST tied it up in the top half of the third when Roa doubled to score Jessnel Belano from second. Belano earlier reached first on a fielding error before moving to second on a Palma walk.
Hernandez sent Basa’s one-ball, no-strike pitch to left-center that sent home Palma and Roa on the next at-bat as UST took the lead and never looked back.