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Valerie Arioto (20)
Courtesy: Cal Athletics
Arioto Sparks Team USA to Two Wins
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  08/07/2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – With four RBI and one home run, Golden Bear softball alum Valerie Arioto helped the U.S. Women’s National Team power past Canada and Argentina Tuesday at the Copa Francisco Reyes Cup (Mayor’s Cup) in Puerto Rico. Team USA beat Canada 11-5 and followed with a 5-1 win over Argentina.

Arioto started her successful day with a walk at the top of the second against Canada. She drew a bases-loaded walk at the top of the third inning for an RBI, then scored an unearned run on a groundout by USF’s Kourtney Salvarola. At the top of the seventh, Arioto’s base hit turned into a double after an error by Canada’s left fielder before she made her way across the final two bases on a single by Oklahoma’s Lauren Chamberlain.

Against Argentina, Arioto continued the success with a long ball in her first at-bat at the bottom of the first inning. With Missouri’s Nicole Hudson and Michigan’s Amanda Chidester on base, Arioto sent a zinger over the left field fence to help the Eagles jump out to a 3-0 lead. She drew two walks in following at-bats, plus closed out the game for Team USA by retiring all three batters, striking out two, in the final inning.

Arioto finished with a team-leading .667 batting average (2-for-3), three runs, four RBI and four walks.

Fellow Golden Bear grad Lindsey Ziegenhirt appeared in both games. She entered the Canada game at catcher at the bottom of the sixth but did not get a turn to bat in rotation order before the game ended. Catching against Argentina, Ziegenhirt finished 0-for-3.

The Eagles are due up for a game vs. Puerto Rico Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. Playoffs will begin Thursday, Aug. 8.

Full recap below courtesy of USA Softball:

San Juan, Puerto Rico –  The USA Softball Women’s National team captured two wins at the Copa Francisco Reyes Cup (Mayor's Cup) on Tuesday  the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today.  In preparation for the Pan American Games/World Championship Qualifier, which is scheduled for August 10-18, Team USA came away with an 11-5 win over Canada and followed up with a 5-1 win over Argentina.  

USA 11, Canada 5

Delayed almost three hours due to the rain,  Team USA faced off against Canada for the fourth time this season in their opener for the Mayor's Cup.   Cheridan Hawkins (Anderson, Calif.) got the start and win at pitcher for the USA. In three innings, Hawkins struck out five batters and surrendered just three hits and three runs. In the top of the fourth, Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) entered in relief to close out the game.  Moore issued one strikeout, giving up two runs and five hits.

Canada got the early lead in the bottom of the first inning after a hit-by-pitch and a single put two Canadian runners on base.  Erika Polidori then connected for a two-run double to put Canada up 2-0.  The lead would hold until the top of the third inning, when the U.S. responded with six runs to take the lead.  Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.)  started the inning with a walk and was moved to second on a wild pitch from Canadian starter Sara Plourde.  Rhea Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) then dropped a bunt down to advance the runner, but an errant throw by the third baseman moved Martinez to third and put Taylor on second base.  Plourde issued another walk to Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) to load the bases.  After a walk to Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.), which plated Martinez, a pitching change was made for Canada as Jocelyn Cater entered in relief for Plourde. 

Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) kept the U.S. rally going with an RBI single to bring Taylor home and tie the game at 2.  Two back-to-back walks to Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) brought in two more runs for Team USA, and two sac-hits by Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) and Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) brought in an additional two runs for the U.S. to move their lead to 6-2. 

Canada would respond with a run in the bottom of the third after Caitlin Lever connected for a double.  Jennifer Yee then hit a sac-fly to left field to score Lever to make it a 6-3 ballgame.  Moore entered the ball game in relief for Hawkins in the bottom of the fourth inning.  A hit-by-pitch put a runner on first and an error gave Canada a base runner and Victoria Hayward took advantage with an RBI double.  After four innings the score was USA 6, Canada 4.

Team USA would add another two runs in the sixth inning.  To start off the top of the sixth, Martinez advanced to first on a single, prompting another pitching change for Canada as Marina Demore entered in relief for Cater.  Taylor would advance to second on a fielder's choice, in which Martinez was thrown out in an attempt to go to third.  Chavanne then hit an RBI single to score Taylor and advanced to second on the throw from the outfield.  Gibson responded with another RBI single to plate Chavanne to give USA an 8-4 lead.

Canada responded again in the bottom of the sixth as Lever scored off a Jennifer Yee single.  The Red, White and Blue would bring in an additional three runs in the top of the seventh inning to secure an 11-5 win over Canada. 

USA 5, Argentina 1

The U.S. jumped on the board quick in their second matchup of the day against Argentina. Sara Nevins (Pineallas Park, Fla.) got the win for Team USA, pitching the first three innings of the game.  Nevins issued four strikeouts, giving up one run and three hits.  Aimee Creger (Yukon, Okla.) entered in relief for the U.S. in the top of the fourth.  Creger shut down the Argentina offense, allowing no hits while issuing five strikeouts.  Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) closed out the game for the U.S., retiring all three batters faced with two strikeouts and a groundout.

Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) provided the first base runner for the U.S. in the bottom of the first inning after being issued a walk by Argentina's pitcher Virginia Sciuto.  Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) followed up with a fielder's choice, in which Hudson reached safely, to give the U.S. two runners on base.  Arioto then sent a long ball over the left field fence to put the U.S. up 3-0 after the first inning. 

Argentina would put a run on the board in the top of the third inning as Aldana Gomez scored on a single by Agustina Godoy.  Team USA responded in the bottom of the inning with another run after Hudson, who was put on base by a walk, scored on a single by Taylor Thom (Cedar Park, Texas).   Another scoreless at-bat by Argentina in the top of the fourth brought the U.S. back to the plate to extend their lead.  Rhea Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) started the bottom of the fourth with a single and advanced to second on a bad throw by the third baseman.  Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) advanced Taylor with a fly-out to centerfield and Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) would bring Taylor home with a sac-fly.   

Both squads were retired in the final three innings of the game, securing a USA 5-1 win. 

With the wins, USA moves to 2-0 at the Mayor's Cup. The USA will play Cuba at 5 p.m. EST and Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. EST tonight to close out pool play. The playoffs are scheduled to begin on Thursday, August 8.  Live stats and online streaming is available during the Mayor's Cup, and links can be found by visiting USASoftball.com


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