by Clyde Mariano
Gab Rodriguez and Miguel Herrera combined for no-hitters and James Legaspi belted a second inning solo homerun as University of the Philippines (UP) blanked Zobel, 17-0, in abbreviated five innings yesterday to rekindle its title bid in the first Chairman’s Cup Baseball Classic at the Rizal Memorial Diamond.
Rodriguez starved the Alabang-based batters over three innings and Herrera finished the job without a single hit as the many-time Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) champion recorded its second win in three games and knocked out Zobel from the title picture.
Legaspi, playing the designated hitter, shattered a 1-1 count with an outside the ballpark homerun to left off starter Carlos Minano to cap a 10-run, six-hit offensive in the second inning with Rodriguez retiring the first three batters.
Getting the momentum, UP, which fourth placed in the UAAP baseball contest this year, scored seven more runs to finish off hapless Zobel, whose three pitchers, Minano, Luis Leonio, and Tuwi Park, were tagged with crippling 14 hits over five innings.
Legaspi’s homer was the second round-tripper recorded in the tournament since Jasper Cabrera of the Philippine Navy in a losing match against undefeated and reigning UAAP champion Ateneo.
It was the second abbreviated game in the month-old tournament since the Blue Eagles crushed Navy last week.
Meanwhile, Philippine Air Force matched UP’s 2-1 card by thumping Rizal Technological University, 6-2, sending the Mandaluyongbased squad to its second defeat in three appearances in the second match of a three-game schedule every Saturday and Sunday.
Ateneo, La Salle, Adamson, and National University shared the lead with unblemished 2-0 cards, followed by Philab, UST, and Navy with similar 1-1 cards.
Sixteen teams are competing in the tournament held in honor of PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia.