SURREY, BC, Canada –– The U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) kicked off the 2022 Canada Cup in dominating fashion with a 11-1 (four innings) run-rule victory over Korea, highlighted by a nine-run fourth inning featuring a grand slam from Sahvannah Jaquish and a two-run shot from University of Kentucky’s Kayla Kowalik. The U.S. offense combined for 11 hits on the day with eight of the ten batters recording at least one hit in the 2022 season opener. Shining in her Team USA debut was University of Tennessee’s Kiki Milloy with a 3-for-3 day at the plate followed by a 2-for-2 performance from the veteran infielder, Hannah Flippen.
The Eagles wasted no time getting things started, plating one run in the top of the first after a leadoff double from Milloy and two infield ground balls from Jocelyn Alo and Baylee Klingler brought around the first U.S. run of the game. Repping the Red, White and Blue for the first time in her career, Virginia Tech’s Emma Lemley got the start in the circle for Team USA and quickly introduced herself to the international stage with a strikeout to kick off the bottom of the frame. A fielding miscue by the U.S. defense would allow the next Korean batter to reach base before a blooper over the infield would allow the runner to score, evening the score 1-1.
A leadoff walk to Jaquish in the top of the second would look to start something for the Eagles, but a sac-bunt and two ground outs would leave her stranded. Lemley took control in the bottom of the inning with three-straight strikeouts to retire the side in order and send the U.S. back to the plate. A pair of one-out singles from Milloy and Alo put runners in scoring position for Charla Echols who came in clutch with a laser through the right side to put Team USA back on top with a one run lead. Staying hot in the circle, Lemley retired the next two Korean batters via a strikeout followed by a ground out to Echols to end the Korea at-bat.
Team USA came alive in the top of the fourth after a leadoff double from Flippen set the tone followed by a single up the middle from Sharlize Palacios to extend the U.S. lead, 3-1. Picking up her third hit of the game, Milloy followed suit with a hard ground ball through the short stop’s glove to bring two more runs across before Klingler roped one up the middle and Echols issued a walk to load the bases. With the stage perfectly set, Jaquish stepped up with a monster home run over the left field fence to tack on four more to the U.S. lead. Continuing the rally with her second double in the inning, Flippen put herself in scoring position for Kowalik who stepped in the box for her first at-bat in the Red, White and Blue and quickly made her presence known with a long ball over the left field fence to put Team USA on top, 11-1.
Kathryn Sandercock took over pitching duties for the U.S. in the bottom of the fourth, allowing a Korean batter to reach base on a leadoff single but a strikeout and a nicely executed double play by the U.S. defense would seal the 11-1 run-rule victory for Team USA.
The Eagles are back in action tomorrow, June 21 at 3:30 p.m. PT against T.C. Colorado followed by matchups against Czech Republic (June 22 at 1 p.m. PT), Chinese Taipei (June 22 at 9 p.m. PT) and Aussie Spirit (June 23 at 8:30 p.m. PT). Following the conclusion of pool play, the top four teams from each pool will advance to the Playoff Round with the final two teams going head-to-head in the Canada Cup gold medal matchup on Sunday, June 26.
Fans across the globe will have the opportunity to follow all week long through the Canada Cup livestream package, which can be purchased for $29.99. The livestream package includes live streaming or on-demand access to all games. Click here to access the live streaming package. Live stats will also be provided on USASoftball.com.