USA defeats host country Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico – In front of stadium full of hometown fans, the USA Softball Women’s National team earned its third win at the Mayor's Cup over host country Puerto Rico in a 10-1 (five inning) run-rule Wednesday evening. Originally slated to play a double header, rain in the San Juan area caused a rescheduling of games, pushing USA's first matchup of the day against Cuba to Thursday at 1:30 pm EST.
The U.S. put runs on the board in three of four innings, as six players combined for eight hits with Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) leading the way, going 2-for-3 with two triples and six RBI.
Puerto Rico put two runners on base in the top of the first inning as Sara Nevins (Pineallas Park, Fla.) gave up a hit and a walk to the first two batters. USA's defense kept the Puerto Rican bats at bay as Rhea Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) made a diving catch in left field to make the first out. Taylor then tossed the ball to shortstop Taylor Thom (Cedar Park, Texas), who picked off the runner at second base to record the double play. Thom then caught a popup for the third out . USA scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the first after Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) was put on base with a walk. Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) brought Gibson home with an RBI single to put the U.S. up 1-0.
Nevins retired Puerto Rico in order in the top of the second inning with three strikeouts. In the bottom half of the inning, Team USA picked up seven runs on five hits and three walks. Thom, who recorded two hits in the inning, started the U.S. rally with a double before scoring on a single by Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.). Taylor was issued a walk and Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) Chidester then hit a single to right field to score two runs and extend the U.S. lead to 4-0. A walk to Arioto would load the bases for the second time, brining Hoagland to the plate. A deep fly ball to the fence gave Hoagland a three-run triple and she would score on a bad throw from the center fielder to clear the bases. At the end of the inning, the U.S. led 8-0.
Puerto Rico would score a run in the top of the third inning after Nevins issued a walk to Monica Santos. Karla Claudio then sent a shot to right centerfield, recording a triple and plating Santos. The U.S. was retired in order in the bottom of the third, bringing Puerto Rico to bat trailing 8-1. Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla.) entered in relief for Nevins in the top of the fourth and recorded a three batter inning with two pop ups to Thom and a strikeout.
In their final at-bat of the game, the U.S. scored an additional two runs in the bottom of the fourth after Arioto was issued her second walk of the game. With the runner on first, Hoagland connected for another RBI triple and would score on another errant throw by the center fielder. With a 10-1 lead, USA's defense continued to shine as a flyout to right field, a strikeout and a groundout to Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.), who entered the game for Thom in the bottom of the fourth inning, ended the game after five innings due to a run-rule.
From the circle, Nevins picked up the win, issuing four strikeouts and giving up two hits and one run through three complete innings. Creger pitched the final two innings of the game, striking out two with no hits.
With the win, USA moves to 3-0 in pool play at the Mayor's Cup. The USA will play their rescheduled matchup against Cuba at 1:30 p.m. EST Wednesday before entering playoffs that evening. Live stats and online streaming is available during the Mayor's Cup, and links can be found by visiting USASoftball.com.