SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Former Golden Bear All-American Valerie Arioto pitched Team USA to the No. 1 seed in the Pan American Games Qualifier playoffs with a 12-0, four-inning shutout over the U.S. Virgin Islands Thursday.
The Eagles tallied a perfect 10-0 record with five shutouts so far at the qualifier, and earned the No. 1 seed from Pool A entering the playoffs. Cuba, Brazil and Colombia earned seeds 2, 3 and 4, respectively.
Arioto was lights out from the circle, allowing just one hit and two walks while fanning seven in four frames of work. Cal teammate Lindsey Ziegenhirt did not enter Thursday’s lineup.
Team USA begins its playoff run Friday afternoon against the winner of Canada vs. Puerto Rico, who are vying for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in Pool B. If Canada wins, the two North American teams will meet beginning at 11 a.m. PT. If Puerto Rico wins, the U.S. will play at 1:30 p.m. PT.
Full recap below courtesy of USA Softball:
The USA Softball Women’s National Team completed round robin action of the Pan American Games Qualifier on Thursday evening with a 12-0, four inning shutout victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands. The win marked the fifth shutout of the tournament for Team USA as they tallied a perfect 6-0 record over five days of action.
The U.S. earned the No. 1 seed from Pool A heading into playoffs and with Cuba, Brazil and Colombia taking the 2, 3 and 4 seeds, respectively. Pool B can see a shift of seeding, as the Dominican Republic earned the No. 1 seed, Canada and Puerto Rico are vying for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, and Mexico is the No. 4 seed.
Playoffs- Friday (August 16) - All times EST
GM 1: Brazil vs. No. 4 Mexico – 9 a.m.
GM 2: B3 vs. Colombia – TBD*
GM 3: USA vs. B2 - TBD*
GM 4: Cuba vs. Dominican Republic - TBD*
* The No. 2 and No. 3 seeds for Pool B will be decided after the conclusion of the Puerto Rico vs. Canada game. If Canada wins, USA will play Canada at 2 p.m. and if Puerto Rico wins, USA will play Puerto Rico at 4:30 p.m.Depending upon the outcome, the schedule for Games 2-4 will be determined after the conclusion of the Canada vs. Puerto Rico game.
Playoffs- Saturday (August 17)
GM 5: Winner of GM 1 vs. Loser of GM 3 - 10 a.m.
GM 6: Winner of GM 2 vs. Loser of GM 4 - 12:30 p.m.
GM 7: Winner of GM 3 vs. Winner of GM 4 - 3 p.m.
GM 8: Winner of GM 5 vs. Winner of GM 6 - 5:30 p.m.
Finals- Sunday (August 18)
GM 9: Winner of GM 8 vs. Loser of GM 7 - 1 p.m. (BRONZE MEDAL GAME)
GM 10: Winner of GM 7 vs. Winner of GM 9 - 3 p.m. (GOLD MEDAL GAME)
Through six games of round-robin play and including the Mayor's Cup, the USA has outscored its opponents 93-9 and has a team batting average of .412. Leading the stat sheet in the RBI column is Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas), who has 15 RBI. Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) is hitting .583 (7-for-12) in eight games played and Raven Chavanne (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) is hitting .545 (12-for-22) in eight games played. From the circle, the pitching staff has an ERA of 1.04 in 54 innings pitched.
Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) earned the win against the Virgin Islands, tallying her first victory of the Qualifier. Arioto allowed just one hit, two walks and no runs while striking out seven in four innings pitched.
Despite a leadoff walk to Joandra Perez, Arioto retired the Virgin Islands with a bunt and back-to-back strikeouts. The U.S. took the lead in the bottom of the first as Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a single and was followed with a walk to Rhea Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.). Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) loaded the bases for the Red, White and Blue with a single before Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) brought in Moultrie with a groundout to first base. A hit-by-pitch to Lauren Chamberlain (Trabuco Canyon, Calif.) put runners on all bases again for the U.S. before a walk to Hudson brought in the second run of the inning for USA. Hoagland then hit a single to left field to score Gibson and Chamberlain to give the U.S. a 4-0 lead entering the second inning.
The U.S. hammered out an additional three runs in the bottom of the second after Gibson led off with a triple. Chidester brought Gibson home with a double before Chamberlain sent a shot over the centerfield fence to extend the lead to 7-0.
A leadoff double from Hoagland started the offense for the U.S. in the third inning before a walk to Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) put two runners on base. Destinee Martinez (Corona, Calif.) hit a single to score Hoagland and a walk to Moultrie loaded the bases for the third time in the game. Taylor brought Salvarola in after hitting a ground ball to shortstop, who threw it to the second baseman to get Moultrie out at second. With two outs, Chidester recorded her third RBI of the day with a single to plate Martinez. Chamberlain hit a single to left field, and an error by the left fielder plated Chidester to give the U.S. a comfortable 12-0 lead.
The Virgin Islands would prevent the no-hitter in the top of the fourth as Laura Isaac hit a single to right field with two outs. Arioto then issued a walk to Karima Brown, but a groundball to Hudson at third ended the game.
Chamberlain led the way for the U.S. offense, going 2-for-2 with three RBI while Chidester knocked in three RBI as well.
The U.S. will enter the playoffs tomorrow afternoon against the winner of Canada vs. Puerto Rico as both squads are fighting for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in Pool B. If Canada wins the contest, the U.S. will play against the Canadians at2 p.m. EST, whereas if Puerto Rico wins the U.S. will play at 4:30 p.m. EST. Live stats and online streaming (pay-per-view) will be available throughout the Pan American Games Qualifier and links can be found at USASoftball.com.