MANILA, Philippines -- Katayama Baseball Academy turned a highly anticipated match-up against Itakura Parts Philippines Corporation into a rout.
Behind another masterpiece from Kiko Gesmundo, the KBA Stars shut out the IPPC Nationals, 7-0, Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.
"I'm so happy that they did a good job today," said KBA head coach Keiji Katayama as the Stars improved to 2-0 in Group A in the 2019 PBL Open Conference.
Gesmundo, the UAAP Season 81 Finals MVP, pitched 4 1/3 innings in the contest, fanning four batters while limiting the Nationals to just four hits.
Besides his dominance on the mound, Gesmundo also had two runs. Gerald Riparip tallied two RBIs, going 2-of-3 at-bat.
Also having good outings were new addition Boo Barandiaran and weekend warrior SJ San Juan. The former had an RBI while the latter tallied two runs.
"They are getting better especially the players that have not played for a long time," the Japanese mentor said. "We only had a practice before the tournament but with the two games we played last week, they were able to improve even more."
The Nationals fell to 0-2 in this tournament.
Joining KBA at the top of Group A are the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles. The runners-up from the recently concluded UAAP season needed an extra inning to escape Adamson University, 7-6.
With two runners in the eighth inning, Dan Laurel, who missed last season, connected on a single for the go-ahead run. A fielder's choice attempt by Adamson resulted to a Gio Salvatierra insurance run later on.
Though a passed ball resulted to one Adamson run at the bottom end of the inning, Javi Macasaet closed out the game on the mound to hand Adamson its first loss in the tournament.
Laurel had three RBIs in the game on three hits to go along with two stolen bases.
In the final game of the weekend, De La Salle University defeated University of the Philippines, 9-1, after the Fighting Maroons conceded the game after four innings.
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