LOS ANGELES, Calif. –– The USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) continued their “Stand Beside Her” Tour, presented by Major League Baseball (MLB), dominance with a 9-1 victory over Loyola Marymount University (LMU). The U.S. pitching staff combined for 20 strikeouts in the 10-inning exhibition matchup with Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) leading the way with 11 strikeouts followed by Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) with five and Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) with four. The Team USA offense combined for 13 hits, with Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) and Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) each having a multi-hit day at the plate.
Team USA wasted no time in getting the offense going as McCleney led off the game with a solo blast over the right field fence to give the Eagles a one-run edge, but the score was quickly evened out as LMU responded in the bottom of the frame with a run of their own. The Red, White and Blue responded in the top of the second with two runs after back-to-back walks from Aubree Munro (Brea, Calif.) and Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) put runners in scoring position for McCleney who used her speed to beat out a bunt and load the bases for Reed. A single through the infield from Reed would plate Munro followed by a sac-fly from Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) to put the U.S. ahead, 3-1.
The Lions put two runners on in the bottom of the third, but two strike outs from Carda and a pop out to Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) kept them from advancing. Team USA added to their lead in the top of fourth with back-to-back walks to Moultrie and McCleney followed by an infield RBI from Reed and a double by Chidester to extend the U.S. lead, 5-1. LMU would put another runner on in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single, but Chidester quickly cleared the bases with a quick throw down to second on the steal attempt. Osterman, who took over pitching duties at the beginning of the inning, retiring the next two batters with back-to-back strikeouts to hold the Lions score to one.
Neither side would muster any additional runs until the top of the eighth when Team USA strung together four hits to plate three runs. Moultrie and McCleney led off the inning with back-to-back singles followed by an error that allowed Reed to load the bases for Carda who sent a ground ball to the short stop to score one. Arioto and Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) continued the offense for Team USA with back-to-back doubles to plate two and put the U.S. ahead, 8-1. Abbott, who entered the circle for Team USA in the bottom of the seventh, retired the first seven batters she faced with strikeouts before allowing one LMU batter to make contact in the bottom of the ninth, but Arioto was there to make the out and send the U.S. back to the plate. Team USA would add one final run to their lead in the top of tenth inning after McCleney blasted a double off the left field wall followed by a ground ball RBI by Keilani Ricketts (San Jose, Calif.) to extend the U.S. lead, 9-1. Abbott continued dealing through the remainder of the game, fanning the last three Lion batters of the game in order to secure the 9-1 victory for Team USA.
The U.S. WNT will round out their May training camp in Northridge, Calif. with a 1:30 p.m. PT contest against California State University, Northridge on May 16 at Matador Diamond (9601 Zelzah Ave, Northridge, Calif. 91325). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, tickets for the game will be limited to a pass list available to families of CSUN student-athletes and coaches, however live stats will be available on USASoftball.com.
The 18-player roster will be without Rachel Garcia, Dejah Mulipola and Bubba Nickles as well as assistant coaches Laura Berg, Howard Dobson, Tairia Flowers and Heather Tarr who all remain with their respective collegiate teams. Assisting Head Coach Ken Eriksen with coaching will be Laura Ricciardone, Kyla Holas and two-time Olympian Kelly Kretschman while Haylie Wagner will join the team as a training player for the month of May.
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