|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
June 12, 2021
Web Release: Link
MIDLAND, Texas – Team USA came out on top in the first two games of a four-game series against Team Alliance in Midland, Texas as the “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB), returned to action at Momentum Bank Ballpark. In their first contest of the day, the USA Softball Women’s National Team defeated Team Alliance 7-5 before producing a 4-0 shutout win to finish the night.
|The U.S. started out hot in both games, with home runs in each of the first innings off the bats of Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) and Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.). Those accounted for two of the five home runs Team USA hit on the day, contributing to their 14 total hits. Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) led the U.S. pitching staff with 13 strikeouts, tossing a complete game shutout – her second in the month of June. |
Team USA 7, Team Alliance 5
Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) got the start for the U.S. in game one and kept Team Alliance off the board in the top of the first. This set the stage for Team USA to take an early 2-0 lead after a walk from Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and a two-run shot from Chidester.
Team Alliance chipped away at that lead in the top of the second with a solo home run, making it 2-1, but Ricketts came back with three straight ground outs to give the bats back to the U.S.
The Red, White and Blue took advantage of another opportunity after a leadoff double from Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.). Taylor Edwards (Murrieta, Calif.) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Moultrie to third, and Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) finished the job with a hard ground ball to the right side to put the U.S. up 3-1.
That lead didn’t last long, however, as Team Alliance responded with a grand slam in the top of the third. Ricketts fired back with a strike out to end the inning, but not before Team Alliance stole the lead, 5-3.
Aguilar got things going again for the U.S. in the bottom of the third with a double to center. After Chidester reached first on a drop third strike to put two runners on, Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) tied the game by finding a gap that allowed both runners to score.
The fourth, fifth, and sixth innings were quiet for both teams. Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) entered to pitch in the fifth for the U.S. and effectively kept Team Alliance from scoring despite a few base hits. ??
A 1-2-3 inning from Carda in the seventh gave Team USA the momentum in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff single from Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) got things going, and Arioto clinched the victory with a walk-off home run over the left field fence, making the final score 7-5, Team USA.
Team USA 4, Team Alliance 0?
Game two started out much like game one for Team USA, with Aguilar going deep to center field after a single from McCleney to put the U.S. up 2-0 in the first inning.
Abbott started in the circle and let one runner on in the bottom of the frame, but quickly came back with two strikeouts to take control of the game. A 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second gave the ball back to Abbott, who continued dominating with three more strikeouts to retire the side.
Both teams got a baserunner in the third inning, but solid defensive work kept the score 2-0, Team USA. That changed when Dejah Mulipola (Garden Grove, Calif.) stepped in the box in the top of the fourth. She crushed the second pitch she saw out of the park to extend the U.S. lead, 3-0. The Red, White and Blue got another base runner after a walk to Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.), but was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Abbott continued dealing in the circle, collecting her seventh strike out of the game in the bottom of the fourth.
McCleney led off the top of the fifth with a solo shot to left field to tally another run for Team USA. Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) followed with an infield single, but was left stranded on the bases after a ground out and two strike outs. The U.S. made quick work of Team Alliance in the bottom of the frame with Abbott racking up two more strikeouts and Munro throwing out a runner at second base.
The sixth inning brought minimal action to the field with the U.S. maintaining a 4-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Team Alliance led off the inning with a bunt to put a runner on first base, and the threat continued after a bloop single fell behind the short stop position to give Team Alliance runners on first and second with two outs. Abbott zoned in, however, and quickly shut down Team Alliance with her thirteenth strikeout of the day to give the U.S. a 4-0 win.
The USA WNT will take on Team Alliance in another exhibition doubleheader Saturday, June 12 at 5:30 p.m. CT. Gates will open at 4 p.m. CT. Game two will take place approximately 35 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Live streaming and stats will be available at USASoftball.com.
Tickets are available for purchase at midlandrockhounds.org or can be purchased at the ballpark box office upon arrival on June 12. Please contact the RockHounds Ticket Manager at email@example.com with any questions.