Cary, North Carolina- The Women’s National Team got off to a great start in the International Friendship Series as they beat USA Red 5-2 and later in the day, edged USA Blue 13-12.
Canada 5 USA Red 2
Three pitchers combined on a 3-hitter and Canada received some timely hitting when they needed it en route to a 5-2 win over USA Red.
Canada opened the scoring in the 3rd inning with 3 runs. Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC) scored the first run of the on a wild-pitch from third base. Asay had quite a game at the plate going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Nicole Luchanski (Edmonton, AB) also had a run scoring single in the inning.
On the mound, starter Tara Sliwkanich (Fort Saskatchewan, AB) provided her team with solid pitching as she threw 4 innings, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. Sliwkanich gave way to Shayla Shahsavar (Saskatoon, SK) who threw a scoreless 5th inning.
USA Red closed the gap to 1 when they scored 2 runs off pitcher Vanessa Riopel (Repentigny, QC) in the 6th. Riopel had trouble with control as she walked and hit a batter in the inning and saw her defence commit 2 errors to allow USA Red back in the game.
In the bottom of the inning, Canada answered back with 2 insurance runs to make the score 5-2. Jenna Flannigan (Cornwall, ON), who was pinch running for Asay scored and so did Autumn Mills (London, ON) who had singled earlier in the inning.
Canada 13 USA Blue 12
In a wild, back and forth affair, Canada used a 7-run 5th inning to earn a 13-12 win over USA Blue.
Down 3-0 in the 3rd, Canada tied the score with a 3-run inning thanks to some speed on the base paths and timely hitting. Megean Cornellsen (Grand-Prairie, AB) got things started when she walked and stole second base. After Bradi Wall (Swift Current, SK) singled, Cornellsen scored from third on a sac-fly from Jenna Flannigan. Nicole Luchanski got into the act by lining a single to right centre to score Wall and later came around to score when she stole third and the catchers throw sailed into the outfield allowing her to come home.
USA Blue stormed back in the top of the 4th with 4 runs to go ahead 7-3, only to see the Canadians come back and score 3 more runs in the bottom of the inning.
With runners on second and third and nobody out, Ashley Stephenson (Mississauga, ON) singled to advance the runners. On the play, a fielding error allowed a run to score and Jennifer Gilroy (Mississauga, ON), who was originally on first base, reached third. Gilroy scored and Stephenson ended up on third base when Cornellsen singled and Canada was within 2 runs of the lead. The third run of the inning came across when Flannigan hit her second sac-fly in as many innings to score Stephenson.
The US would go up by two runs in the 5th only to see Canada explode for 7 runs to take a 13-8 lead. Having already scored earlier in the inning, Amanda Asay came through with a 2 run single as part of the 7 run onslaught.
USA Blue did not go away quietly as they scored 1 run in the 6th and 3 more in the 7th before Stephenson came in to pitch and fielded a comebacker to the mound for the final out of the game.
USA Blue actually outhit Canada 16-9, but Canada was able to take advantage of 4 errors to aide in the victory. Stephenson led Canada’s attack with 2 hits, an RBI and 2 runs scored.
Notes: The WNT will continue the International Friendship Series on Wednesday (August 3rd) against USA Red at 7:30pm ET…The game will be played at the USA Baseball National Training Centre and fans can follow all of the action LIVE by visiting: www.usabaseball.com