Aug. 31, 2006
BEIJING, China - Tennessee senior hurler Monica Abbott hurled a three-hit shutout with five strikeouts, and catcher Stacey Nuveman was 3-for-4 with two home runs and six RBI as Team USA improved to 5-0 in pool play with a commanding 15-0 (four inn.) victory over New Zealand in ISF World Championship play on Thursday at the Fengtai Softball Field in Beijing, China. The Americans currently lead their pool with a perfect 5-0 record to assure a position in the playoff rounds and improve to 101-9 all-time at the World Championships.
The Red, White & Blue wasted little time in jumping on top of the Kiwis as the U.S. took advantage of some shaky defense by New Zealand to register a four-spot in the opening frame. Right fielder Caitlin Lowe walked and swiped second to advance into scoring position. Shortstop Natasha Watley and left fielder Jessica Mendoza each coerced a base-on-balls from New Zealand hurler Sheree Cartwright to load the bags with no one retired. Designated player Crystl Bustos reached on the first of three N.Z. miscues in the inning to plate Lowe with the contest's initial tally. Nuveman followed with a two-RBI single to right center, and Bustos later scored on another error by New Zealand to grant the Americans a 4-0 lead.
Despite permitting a lead-off single in the bottom of the first to second baseman Kalala Faalogo, Abbott settled in to strikeout two consecutive Kiwi hitters, and Nuveman cut down Faalogo attempting to swipe second to keep any possible threat from developing.
With two retired in the top of the second, Bustos got another U.S. assault christened by singling to left field. Nuveman stepped to the dish and blasted a two-run shot to center to add to Team USA's advantage.
Following another solid inning of work from Abbott, the Red, White & Blue broke the contest wide open in the third by plating seven runs on seven hits and New Zealand's fifth error of the match-up to grab a 13-0 advantage. The Kiwis opened the frame with a relief pitcher in the circle as Michal Tangaroa was summoned in for starter Cartwright (2 IP, 6 R, 5 ER). Second baseman Lovie Jung and center fielder Laura Berg greeted the new hurler rudely with back-to-back singles. A fly out by Lowe and a groundout from Watley threatened to conclude the scoring opportunity for the U.S. Mendoza wouldn't allow that to happen as she ripped a two-RBI base knock to left for a 8-0 lead. That opened the floodgates for the Americans as Bustos singled in a run, Nuveman hammered another two-run homer, Jung drove in a tally on a base hit and first baseman Jennie Finch crossed the dish on a passed ball as 12 U.S. hitters stepped to the plate in the decisive frame.
Desperate for a rally after falling behind on the scoreboard by a baker's dozen, Team New Zealand managed a pair of two-out singles off Abbott in the bottom of the third. The Salinas, Calif., native fielded her position solidly, however, to retire first baseman/designated player Fiona Timu on a ground ball to end the threat with no damage.
An RBI single by Red, White & Blue third baseman Andrea Duran and a run-scoring walk from replacement second baseman Vicky Galindo in the fourth inning set the final offensive tally at 15-0 in favor of Team USA. The Americans have outscored their opposition through five contests at the ISF World Championships by a count of 39-1.
Abbott closed out the match-up in style in the bottom of the fourth by striking out pinch hitter Maleme Williams for her fifth K of the game.
In other pool play action on Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. rode a two-hit shutout by Cat Osterman to a 4-0 victory over Canada, and team USA pitcher Jamie Southern permitted just one base knock in a 7-0 (five inn.) shutout of Great Britain. The Red, White & Blue are being led offensively to this point by Mendoza who's hitting .615 (8-of-13) with two HR's and nine RBI. Nuveman also possesses a pair of dingers with six RBI in the five-game stint. The U.S. pitching staff has yet to allow an earned run in 28 innings of work at the event as an error led to Italy's lone tally in the opener.
Check into utladyvols.com for game recaps and statistics when available from Tennessee's participation with the various USA Softball programs.
|U.S. in the XI ISF Women's World Championships|
|Sunday, August 27||USA vs. Italy||U.S. 6-1|
|Monday, August 28||USA vs. DPR Korea||U.S. 7-0 (5)|
|Tuesday, August 29||USA vs. Canada||U.S. 4-0|
|Wednesday, August 30||USA vs. Great Britain||U.S. 7-0 (5)|
|Thursday, August 31||USA vs. New Zealand||U.S. 15-0 (4) - Abbott three-hit shutout|
|Friday, September 1||USA vs. China||7:30 a.m.|
|Saturday, September 2||USA vs. South Africa||3:30 a.m.|
|Sunday, September 3||Bracket Play|
|Monday, September 4||Bracket Play|
|Tuesday, September 5||Championship/Third-Place Game|
*All Times Eastern
Beijing, China, is 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone