He continued his hot streak at the plate to lead a mixture of young players who starred in the Bulls’ masterful 9-3 triumph over the Sand Kings to wrest solo second in the Dunkin’ Donuts Baseball Philippines Series 6 at the Alabang Country Club.
In perhaps the most productive game of his career, Zialcita drove home five runs-batted-in (RBI) as he was key in putting Batangas ahead at the start to derail Pampanga’s bid to win back-to-back games.
The other day, the Sand Kings shocked the erstwhile unbeaten Manila Sharks, 7-5. This time, however, the magic from the win easily disappeared against the Bulls’ rampage.
Batangas, which suffered a 5-4 loss to Manila on opening day, posted its second straight win to climb up to a share of second place with the idle Cebu Dolphins at 2-1 to move one-game closer to a spot in the semifinals.
Aside from his big run-scoring production, Zialcita hit the ball four times off five at-bats and made two doubles. But coach Randy Dizer didn’t leave aside his other players.
“Justin really hit well today but Mark Ong, Amber Plaza, Charles Catangui, Pelos Remollo, Josh Rapaport and Nick Sarda, they also played big for us,” said Dizer.
“I think our young players are blending well with our veterans and it will help us,” added Dizer.
Zialcita put Batangas up 4-0 in the second inning by drilling his first double that scored Catangui and Ong, who earlier smashed a two-run single for the team’s first runs.
In the fourth, he once again drilled a two-bagger, this time bringing home Sarda from second as the Bulls gained a commanding 6-0 advantage.
And finally, the Pasadena City College standout secured the final score by hitting one into left-center field to drove home Remollo and Rapaport.
Plaza was inserted as the starting pitcher but walked four batters in four innings. Still, that prevented the Sand Kings from coming back while Ong came in relief with two scoreless innings.
Then came Series 5 Most Valuable Player Romeo Jasmin to finish the job striking out four batters in the final three innings. But he also endured some scary moments, particularly in the seventh.
Pampanga cut the lead to 7-3 on an RBI single by Ernesto Binarao and then got the bases loaded for catcher Rizel Santos, who a day ago delivered two homers in beating the Sharks hoping that another four-bagger would tie the game
Santos worked on a three-ball, one-strike pitch but hit a short chopper to Jasmin, who scooped the ball with his glove to survive the jam.