|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
June 13, 2021
Web Release: Link
|MIDLAND, Texas – The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) split the second doubleheader against Team Alliance, marking the first loss for the U.S. on the 2021 “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB). Team USA captured a 5-3 win in the first contest of the night, but quickly got behind in the second game and fell short 4-1. |
Rachel Garcia (Palmdale, Calif.) highlighted the U.S. offense with two home runs in her first game back with the Red, White and Blue after concluding her collegiate season at UCLA. Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) also had a solid day at the plate, drawing three walks and using her speed to leg out a triple. Four U.S. pitchers took the mound today, striking out 23 Team Alliance batters in the two contests.
Team USA 5, Team Alliance 3
Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) got the start in the circle for Team USA and took care of business in the first inning, retiring the first three batters she faced. After a walk from Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) in the bottom of the frame, the U.S. went down in order as well.
Team Alliance threatened to score in the top of the second with a leadoff walk and back-to-back infield singles, but Carda induced two pop outs and a strike out to keep Team Alliance from crossing the plate. Garcia put Team USA on the board in the bottom of the second with a solo shot to left field to make it 1-0, U.S., after two innings.
Carda had another 1-2-3 inning in the third to send Team USA back to the plate. Kelsey Stewart (Wichita, Kan.) led off the inning by reaching first on an error, and Reed and Aguilar followed with a single and a walk to load the bases. Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) caused chaos by putting the ball in play and hustling down the line, forcing an overthrow that advanced her to second and scored two runs, extending the U.S. lead to 3-0.
Team USA struck again in the fourth inning when Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a leadoff single and Bubba Nickles (Merced, Calif.) moved her to second. Stewart followed with a double to right field that scored Moultrie and put the U.S. up by four.
A three-run home run from Team Alliance in the fifth would cut the U.S. lead to one, but a strike out from Carda and a pitching change to bring in Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) killed the rally and kept the score 4-3, Team USA.
The next big hit came in the bottom of the sixth when Garcia smashed her second bomb of the day to give the Red, White and Blue an insurance run. Ricketts finished off the game with an efficient seventh inning, retiring the side in order to give Team USA the 5-3 victory.
Team Alliance 4, Team USA 1?
The first inning was a quick one for both teams, with each pitcher only facing three batters and Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas), starting in the circle for the U.S., closing out the inning with a strike out. Team USA put five runners on base in their next two at-bats but failed to bring anything across the plate while Osterman kept Team Alliance off the boards until a grand slam in the third scored four runs.
The U.S. put a pair of runners on with two walks from Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Dejah Mulipola (Garden Grove, Calif.) in the top of the fourth. Stewart came through with a hard line drive to left field to reach on an error and score a run for Team USA. A ground out to end the inning left two base runners stranded, but not before the U.S. added a run and cut Team Alliance’s lead to 4-1.
Osterman dominated the fourth inning with three strikeouts to send the U.S. back to the plate in the top of the fifth. Aguilar collected the lone hit of the inning for Team USA with a triple to center field but failed to score after back-to-back ground outs retired the side.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) entered to pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning and issued three strike outs to shut down Team Alliance and send the game to the sixth with the U.S. still trailing 4-1.
A two-out rally loaded the bases for Team USA after a walk from Chidester followed two singles from Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) and Stewart. The U.S. was unable to come in clutch, though, as a ground out to first ended the at-bat.
Abbott continued to deal in the circle with a three-up, three-down inning in the bottom of the sixth. Team Alliance followed suit, however, and ended the game with a 1-2-3 inning and secured a 4-1 win over Team USA.
The WNT is now 18-1 on the “Stand Beside Her” tour, presented by MLB, collectively hitting .314 with seven batters hitting over .300. McCleney leads the offense with an impressive 12-game hit-streak in addition to her team-leading eight home runs on the pre-Olympic tour. The U.S. pitching staff added 38 strike outs this weekend, totaling 193 with Osterman leading the way with 68 K’s followed by Abbott with 54 and Carda with 39.
Team USA will return to action June 19-20 as the “Stand Beside Her” tour heads to Sugar Land, Texas. The Red, White and Blue will square off in four more exhibition contests against Team Alliance, which will consist of collegiate and/or professional athletes supported by Alliance Fastpitch member leagues. Played at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, Team USA will kick off on Saturday, June 19 with a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m. CT followed by another doubleheader on Sunday, June 20 at 1 p.m. CT. Game two for both days will take place approximately 35 minutes after the conclusion of game one. Additional information on COVID-19 ballpark guidelines will be announced at a later date.