USA Schutt Elite blanks VenezuelaUSA Schutt Elite blanks Venezuela, 2-0
IRVINE, Calif. - Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) limited previously unbeaten Venezuela to just one hit and registered 13 strikeouts and USA Schutt Elite scored single runs in the fourth and sixth on its way to a 2-0 triumph on Friday night. Bouncing back from a rocky outing versus Australia, the All-American right-hander fanned the first seven batters she faced and permitted just a leadoff base-hit in the fourth to Zuleima Rodriguez. With the shutout, USA improved to 3-1 in the Champions Cup and dropped Venezuela to 2-1 in the tournament.
“Monica was dominant in the circle and was the reason we won this game,” said Head Coach Jay Miller. “We had a lot of opportunities that we did not take advantage of but I am glad we came out with the win. We didn’t come out strong and stayed that way throughout the game. This needs to change as we move closer to the playoff rounds.”
USA was held hitless by Marie Castellanos until Vicki Galindo (Union City, Calif.) opened the bottom of the fourth with a single through the right side and advanced to second on an error by the right fielder. With Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) at the plate, Galindo swiped third base and scored when the catcher fired the relay into left. After Fox reached on an infield hit and nabbed second, Sara Dean (Valencia, Calif.) and Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) each lined out to center. Jodie Legaspi (Garden Grove, Calif.) drew a walk and Fox was able to take third on a wild pitch from Castellanos. Another free pass to Jackie Rinehart (Reno, Nev.) filled the bases with two down before Catalina Morris (Sonoita, Ariz.) popped out to end the inning.
Fox was hit by a pitch to begin the home portion of the sixth and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch by reliever Mariangee Bogado. A fielding error by the shortstop allowed Duran to reach base and Legaspi’s grounder was booted by the second baseman, enabling Fox to make the score 2-0 in favor of the U.S. With runners occupying second and third and one down, pinch hitter Emily Zaplatosch (Scottsdale, Ariz.) walked to fill the sacks. A fielder’s choice by pinch hitter Vanessa Iapala (San Diego, Calif.) forced Duran at home and Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) forced Morris at second to close the frame.
Miller’s squad finished with only three hits and left eight runners on base. USA Schutt Elite will conclude pool play with two games tomorrow, meeting All-American Softball at 9 a.m. and Chinese Taipei at 4:30 p.m.