Eagles and Spirit Split Tuesday Doubleheader
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 29, 2018) – The Beijing Eagles and Aussie Spirit wrapped up their six-game series in Daytona Beach on Tuesday with a doubleheader split. The Eagles took game one by a 5-1 score on the strength of a complete game three-hit effort from Wang Lan, while the Spirit took the second game 2-0 thanks to a complete game shutout from Monica Perry. The results leave both teams with identical 6-6 records on the season.
Game 1 – Beijing 5, Aussie 1
The Eagles snapped their three-game losing streak with a 5-1 win in Tuesday’s first game behind the stellar pitching efforts of Lan who got the start in the circle in the opener, allowing just one run on three total hits in a complete game effort.
Lan worked around a two-out single from Taylah Tsitsikronis in the top of the first to retire the Spirit and send her team into the dugout. The Eagles got things going right away in the bottom of the opening inning, starting with a leadoff bunt single from Victoria Draper and followed by an infield single from Li Qi that put runners on the corners with no outs. The Eagles pulled off a perfect double-steal to take the 1-0 lead before Aussie starter Katie Donovan put the next three Eagles down in order.
Lan faced the minimum in the top of the second and the Eagles blew things open in their half of the frame, scoring three runs on four base hits as Wang Mengyan picked up an RBI single before Donovan was removed for Stephanie Trzcinski with no outs yet recorded. Qi drove in two more with a bases-loaded single to center field for a 4-0 Eagle advantage before Trzcinski was finally able to get out of the inning.
Both Lan and Trzcinski worked scoreless third and fourth innings before the Eagles added an insurance run in the fifth on a Li Huan infield single, plating Xu Qianwen after she had doubled to start the inning. With two Eagles on and no outs, Donovan was called on to return to the circle and she was able to limit the scoring to just the one run as Beijing took a 5-0 lead into the sixth.
Aussie broke up Lan’s shutout in the sixth when Stacey McManus brought in Tabitha Callander from third with a ground ball to short. Callander had doubled to start the frame, before moving to third on an infield single from pinch hitter Erin Thras, but Lan kept the Eagles with a comfortable 5-1 lead by fanning Tsitsikronis to end the threat.
Lan closed things out with an easy seventh, improving to 2-2 with the complete game victory, scattering three hits with nine strikeouts. Donovan dropped to 0-1 on the season with her first decision of 2018.
Qi was named the Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game for her 2-for-4 effort with two RBIs.
Game 2 – Aussie 2, Beijing 0
In the second game, both starting pitchers kept their opponents off the scoreboard through the first three innings. The Spirit broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when Jessica Torpey drove in Tsitsikronis on a groundout, putting Aussie ahead 1-0.
Tsitsikronis doubled the lead with a two-out RBI double the next inning, knocking in Tamieka Whitefield to make it 2-0.
Perry made those two runs stand up, tossing a complete game shutout for the Spirit. The Eagles threatened in each of the last two innings, putting two baserunners on in both the sixth and seventh, but each time Perry was able to escape the jam without allowing a run to score.
Tsitsikronis finished 1-for-3 with a double, run scored, and an RBI, while Torpey was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Perry evened her season record at 2-2 with the shutout victory, allowing just five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. She was also named the Vaultz Lock It Up Player of the Game.
Five Eagles each recorded a hit, including Huan, Qianwen, Wang Xiaoqing, Liu Linning, and Lui Li Li.
The Aussie Spirit will travel to Viera to open a four-game set against the USSSA Pride tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at USSSA Space Coast Stadium. The Eagles will be off until Sunday, June 3, when they will travel to Viera for a single game against the Pride at 3 p.m.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
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.