The UST Tiger Softbelles settle for bronze after falling short against the UP Fighting Maroons, 3-2, in the UAAP Season 86 softball tournament at the UP Diliman Baseball Field on Saturday, April 6. (Photo by Jan Kristopher T. Esguerra/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Tiger Softbelles missed the UAAP finals for the second straight season, settling with bronze after a 3-2 loss to the UP Fighting Maroons at the UP Diliman Baseball Field on Saturday, April 6.

UST finished the season with a 5-3 win-loss record.

“Untimely ‘yong mga hits, hindi sunod-sunod,” UST head coach Sandy Barredo told the Varsitarian. “Iyong mga hits na nagawa nila puro tapat, nakukulangan.”

UP went ahead early in the bottom of the first inning after Nichole de la Cruz hit an RBI double to plate Angel Pascual, 1-0.

However, UST’s Lyca Blanco responded quickly in the top of the second after squaring up KC Valino’s pitch to hit the final home run of her collegiate career and tie the ballgame at 1-all.

In the bottom of the third, a leadoff single by Danica Aquino and an error by Mharnie de la Cruz paved the way for Jammin Rasco to hit a double and allow Aquino to score after a rare Shyla Celis catching error, 2-1.

With their season on the line, Celis hit a leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning to allow Jojielyn Lim to hit a sacrifice bunt, advancing the former to second and putting the tying run in scoring position.

UST team captain Christine Bautista then extended the Softbelles’ season after hitting an RBI double to score Celis and tie the game again, 2-all.

UST’s momentum, however, was short lived as Aquino hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the seventh to make way for Pascual who sealed the deal with a walk-off single.

Royevel Palma pitched the final game of her stellar collegiate career striking out three batters while allowing two runs.

UST will miss the services of Palma, Blanco, Celis, Bautista, De la Cruz and Charlotte Sales next season.