DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 16, 2018) – The Cleveland Comets pounded out a franchise-record 13 hits and scored a franchise-record 11 runs on Saturday to pull away for an 11-3 win over the Beijing Eagles. The win improves the Comets’ record to 3-11, while the Eagles fall to 11-10.
Chloe Miller got the Comets on the board first, launching a solo home run to right-center field in the top of the second to make it a 1-0 game. That lead would prove to be short-lived, as Xu Jia singled home Xu Quianwen in the bottom of the inning to tie it at 1-1.
Cleveland wasted no time retaking the lead, scoring a pair in the top of the third, thanks in part to a costly Beijing error. Jade Rhodes chopped a high hopper to second base that would have been an infield single to load the bases, but an ill-advised throw from Xie Yue went wide of first base, allowing Shellie Robinson to score the go-ahead run. During the next at-bat, Alexa Peterson and Rhodes pulled off a double-steal, with Rhodes taking second and Peterson scoring on a steal of home to make it 3-1 Comets.
Beijing got a run back in the fourth when Li Huan came home on a two-out error by Yue, her second error of the contest. The Comets quickly responded in the top of the fifth with five runs thanks to an RBI single from Lu Yao, a pair of run-scoring wild pitches from Allie Walljasper. Robinson then delivered a big two-out blow with a base hit through the left side that scored two more runs, increasing the Cleveland lead 8-2.
Ren Min singled home Chen Jia in the bottom of the fifth for the Eagles’ third run of the game, but that would be the closest Beijing would get for the rest of the game. The Comets tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh to claim the 11-3 victory.
The Cleveland offense was clicking on all cylinders, as nine different Comets recorded base hits, eight Comets scored a run, and five Cleveland batters knocked in runs. Robinson was named the Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game thanks to her 2-for-4 effort with three RBIs, a run scored, and a stolen base. Lu Yao was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Rhodes was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Devin Brown started for Cleveland, going the first three innings, allowing one run on five hits with one walk. Ping Fan (1-2) got the win in relief, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk in 1.1 innings of work. Randi Rupp tossed the final 2.2 innings, allowing no runs and no hits with just one walk and four strikeouts.
Jia went 2-for-4 with a run scored for Beijing, while Li Huan was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. Walljasper (2-1) took the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings, walking two and striking out six. Emily Watson gave up three runs in 1.1 innings of relief and Zhao Xinxing allowed three runs on six hits over the final two innings.
The Eagles and Comets will face off tomorrow night, Sunday, June 17, to wrap up this six-game series in Daytona Beach. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m.
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004 provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Aussie Spirit, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Cleveland Comets and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2018 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.