Haylie McCleney’s last game at Rhoads stadium was a 5-2 win over Washington to send Alabama to the Women’s College World Series. She returned, once again on the home team, and helped Team USA defeat the Alabama Stars 9-1 and 7-0 in an exhibition double header.
McCleney led off the bottom of the first for Team USA. She faced former teammate Alexis Osorio. McCleney won that matchup by singling up the middle.
“That’s typical Haylie,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “You leave it over the middle of the plate and she is going to get the barrel on the ball.”
McCleney went 1-for-4 in her first game back at Rhoads Stadium. She was replaced in the top of the third inning with two outs. As she ran off the field, she received a standing ovation.
“It was awesome,” McCleney said. “I didn’t know coach (Ken) Eriksen was going to do that. I didn’t know because there weren’t three outs, so I thought there was a miscommunication. I was just trying not to cry.” She left Alabama as the program leader in four categories (batting average, on base percentage, walks and triples). She also finished top five in five other categories.
Power lead Team USA to a game one win. The national team sent three balls over the fence, which added up to five of the nine runs. Valerie Arioto finished 1-for-2 with a three-run home run and four RBIs.
Team USA’s pitching stifled the Alabama Stars all night, allowing just one run off four hits. Jessica Moore started, throwing 3 2/3 innings. She allowed all four hits and the lone run. Delaine Gourley and Kelly Barnhill threw the rest of the game, each allowing a walk. Barnhill went 1 1/3 innings and struck out three, while Gourley threw one inning and finished with a strike out.
Alabama was represented by four current softball players. Reagan Dykes, Bailey Hemphill and Osorio all started for the Alabama Stars, while Caroline Hardy came off the bench to pinch hit later in the game. None of the hitters recorded a hit, but Hemphill and Hardy drew three walks.
Osorio took the loss, going four innings, while allowing six runs (three earned), eight hits and she walked five.
“They had one practice as a team. It’s just not the same when you have three months of fall ball and a month and a half of spring,” Murphy said. “It’s really good for them. Its great experience and you get to play against some of the greatest players in the world.”
Team USA did much of the same in game two. It put up five runs in the second inning on route to winning the second game. Ali Aguilar hit a grand slam for her second home run of the day. Jenna Lilley walked off the second game with a solo shot to right.
Alabama Stars starter Devin Brown struggled with her control, walking five. She allowed five runs, off just two hits in just 1 2/3 innings pitched.
Team USA next plays in Auburn on July 22.
Source:: The Crimson White Sports