Women’s National Team earns fifth shutout victory after a 6-0 win over Venezuela
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — The USA Softball Women’s National Team continued to shut out its opponents at the Pan American Championship after a 6-0 victory over Venezuela on Tuesday afternoon. It was a close contest through the majority of the game until a three-run sixth inning gave the U.S. a comfortable six run lead.
Venezuela would get a base runner on with one out in the top of the first inning after singling to right field, but U.S. starter Ally Carda (Elk Grove, Calif.) fired back with two-straight strikeouts to keep the runner from advancing.
Leadoff batter Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) continued her hot streak at the top of the lineup, doubling on a fly ball to center field. She came around to score after Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) singled to right field, using her wheels to score from second base. After Carda and the U.S. defense retired Venezuela in order in the top of the second, Team USA looked to add to their lead after Carda singled to left field to start the bottom of the frame. The U.S. was unable to capitalize, however, as a fielder’s choice, a popup and a groundout quickly ended the inning.
The game would get interesting in the top of the third inning when Venezuela would load the bases with one out. A leadoff walk and bunt put a runner in scoring position before a hit batter and another walk put runners on each bag. The U.S. defense remained steadfast, however, as a groundout to Hannah Flippen (San Diego, Calif.) at third base and a groundout to Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) at shortstop ended the threat.
The Red, White and Blue tacked on another run in the bottom of the third. A leadoff triple from Moultrie put a runner in scoring position for Spaulding, who hit a sac fly to centerfield to make it a 2-0, U.S. ballgame.
Two strikeouts from Carda and a groundout in the top of the fourth brought Team USA back to the plate. Then, with one out, Jazmyn Jackson (San Jose, Calif.) blasted a ball over the centerfield fence for a solo home run to make it a three run lead for the U.S.
After recording a groundout in the top of the fifth, Kelly Barnhill (Marietta, Ga.) entered in relief for Carda and quickly retired the next two batters faced. Leading by three runs, Team USA held on to that lead until the bottom of the sixth when they plated three runners. A one out walk to Flippen put a runner on base for McCleney, who blasted out the second home run of the game while making it a 5-0 lead. Moultrie beat out a bunt in her at bat, moved to second on a wild pitch, and came around to score on a fly ball single from Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.).
With the U.S. up by six runs, Venezuela would get a runner on base in their final at bat after a one out single, but back-to-back popups ended the game with Team USA earning the 6-0, shutout win.
Carda earned the win, her second of the Pan American Championship, pitching four and one-third innings with five strikeouts and one hit allowed. Barnhill earned the save, pitching the final two and two-third innings with four strikeouts.
McCleney had another great day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Moultrie also had a 3-for-4 outing with one RBI and two runs scored.
Team USA returns to action tomorrow afternoon for a doubleheader. First up, the U.S. will take on Aruba at 2 p.m. ET followed by a 4 p.m. ET meeting with Puerto Rico. Fans can watch Team USA throughout the tournament with live streaming through InternetTV for an $11.95 (USD) subscription. Live stats will also be available for fans to follow along through USASoftball.com.