August 5, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
Viera, FL- Starting the last stretch before the Cowles Cup, the USSSA Pride (32-8) clashed with the second-ranked Scrap Yard Dawgs (29-14) on Friday evening at the Space Coast Stadium. In a duel that endured until the very last out, USSSA clinched its seventh consecutive win, where the Pride pitching staff and defense combined in an almost impeccable performance.
Overpowering the Scrap Yard lineup allowing solely two hits for a game batting average of .095, Keilani Ricketts (9-3, 1) clutched her ninth win for her fourth season in the National Pro Fastpitch. In the six complete innings pitched, Ricketts accumulated four strikeouts and allotted no walks. The former Sooner is currently ranked first overall among the NPF leaderboard for strike percentage, with an outstanding percentage of 71.5. After the Friday night game, she counts 61 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched, for a seasonal ERA of 1.54.
Closing the game for the Pride, Jordan Taylor (1-1, 11) tabbed another save under her belt, retaining the Scrap Yard offense with two back-to-back strikeouts and increasing her personal count to 26 for an ERA of 0.93. At the current time, Taylor holds the third best ERA among the 2017 NPF leaderboard, while ranking fourth for striking percentage with an average of 68.9
In the box, the Pride grasped eight hits and three RBI. Chelsea Goodacre, Sierra Romero and Lauren Chamberlain drove in one run apiece, while Hallie Wilson concluded the night outing going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Opening the game with a quick first and second inning for both dugouts, USSSA came close to breaking through the score in the bottom of the third, but the Dawgs closed the inning leaving two runners hanging.
As the fourth came around, the Pride reached base with Kelly Kretschman and Romero. With runners at first and third, Chamberlain flared a double down the left field line to bring the Pride on the scoreboard, 1-0. Entering the fifth with a one-run lead, Goodacre brought the Pride at distance, blasting her seventh seasonal home run to overlap the Dawgs, 2-0.
The Pride offensive half kept rolling, and with bases loaded Romero flared a sac fly to left, allowing Andrea Duran to cross home plate safe and enlarge the USSSA stretch, 3-0. After a blank sixth inning for both line ups, the Pride locked the game in the top of the seventh, where Taylor quickly retired the Dawgs bats and fastened the USSSA win, 3-0.
The Pride will be back on the diamond tomorrow to face the Scrap Yard Dawgs in Game 2 of the weekend series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. EST.