Viera, FL (July 18, 2017) – The Monday night rain might have delayed but not stopped the Prides race to the 2017 Cowles Cup, as USSSA (24-6) clutched its 24th win on the road to Baton Rouge, La. The Viera-based lineup re-enacted last year’s NPF Final, but this time with a different outcome, as the 2016 runners up defeated the Chicago Bandits (16-15) on home territory at the Space Coast Stadium on Tuesday night.
ACC Pitcher of the Year Jessica Burroughs (0-0) took the circle for the Pride, as she faced 11 batters and allotted no runs in two innings pitched. In her last season at FSU, the 2017 No.1 Overall NPF Draft Pick finished her senior year with an ERA of 1.22 in 195 innings pitched. During the season, Burroughs accumulated 266 strikeouts and a record of 44-34. With the Pride, Burroughs currently counts nine appearances, three strikeouts and an ERA of 2.92.
Entering in the third as relief, Angel Bunner (4-1) earned her fourth win, striking out three in five innings pitched and allowing five hits for one run. In the outing, Bunner faced her former lineup, with whom she won the Cowels Cup in the previous season. In 2016, Bunner shut down her current teammates in the Final game of the NPF Championship to help Chicago earns its fourth National title. As a Bandit, Bunner tallied 29 strikeouts in 57.4 innings pitched, for an ERA of 2.57. Transitioning to the Pride, she totals 22 strikeouts in 33 innings pitched for a 1.25 ERA.
In the box, the USSSA bats were on fire as they collected nine hits, which included two home runs and one triple. Leading the offensive firepower, Chelsea Goodacre and Lauren Chamberlain logged one home run apiece. With tonight, Goodacre bumped up her total to five, holding a batting average of .295 for a .462 slugging percentage. The NCAA home run record holder Chamberlain crashed her fifth seasonal home run, while holding a slugging percentage of .506. When combining her 95 collegiate home runs to her NPF career total, Chamberlain accumulates 114 home runs.
The Bandits took the lead in the second, as the Chicago lineup clawed one run to go ahead, 1-0. However, in the home offensive half, USSSA fired back to tie the game, 1-1. Chamberlain started with a single up the middle, followed by Kirsti Merritt who flared a triple to left field to drive Chamberlain home. Shelby Pendley then delivered a single to right to allow Merritt to score, and Megan Wiggins sent her home with a single up the middle to put the Pride ahead, 3-1. The Pride lineup kept rolling, and clutched one more run with Sierra Romero to motor past the Bandits, 4-1.
As the score remained unchanged in the third and fourth, the fifth would bring smiles to the fans at Space Coast Stadium. In the bottom of the fifth Goodacre brought the Pride to distance as the USSSA catcher blasted a two-run home run to overlap the Bandits, 6-1. Keeping the slugfest alive, dropped another two-run shot behind the center field fence, and propelled the Pride past Chicago, 8-1. In the seventh, the Bandits snatched one more run, but Bunner and the Pride defense quickly shut down the Chicago lineup to wrap up the fourth consecutive win, 8-2.
The Pride will step back into the Space Coast Stadium on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. EST to face the Chicago Bandits before travelling to the Ballpark at Rosemont.
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 Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 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.
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.