USA rolls past Australia

July 15, 2006, 2:21 p.m. (ET)
USA rolls past Australia to improve to 3-0 at World Cup
Oklahoma City, Okla.---The USA Softball Women’s National Team cruised to an easy 9-0 five inning win over Australia to improve to 3-0 at the II World Cup of Softball presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in Oklahoma City, Okla. Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), who has been hotter than the Oklahoma weather, led the U.S. at the plate going 2-for-2 with a double and four RBI.
“I came into this World Cup and fed off the hype from last year and what everyone was questioning about if we could still dominate,” Mendoza said. “The past couple of games adrenaline has been running through our veins. Seeing the team come together is really amazing knowing everything we can do.”
Australian starter, Kelly Gentle (Blacktown, New South Wales) held the U.S. bats at bay for the first two innings but in the third things changed quickly. Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) led off with a single up the middle and moved to third when Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) reached on a throwing error by Gentle. Lowe scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Mendoza. With Watley on second, Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) was intentionally walked.
After a fielder’s choice by Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.), Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) singled through the right side and moved to second on a throw to the plate that Bustos was able to slide around. Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.) added two more runs with a single left field to increase the lead to 4-0.
Australia went to their bullpen in the fourth in hopes that Catherine Bishop (Adelaide, South Australia) could shutdown the U.S. momentum but it was not to be. Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) and Lowe had back-to-back infield hits to lead off the inning. Watley then reached on fielding error to load the bases for Mendoza who laced a bases clearing double to left field. Bustos followed with a single to left field to score Mendoza and give the U.S. an 8-0 lead. A bases loaded single by Vicky Galindo provided the U.S. with its final run of the game.
Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) was solid in the shutout allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out six in five innings for work. Kelly Gentle dropped to 1-1 in World Cup play after allowing four runs on five hits.
“It’s nice to come out with a solid start and make a statement”, Osterman said. “We wanted to come out and dominate and that’s what we were able to do today with our offense.”
Australia is now 2-1 in World Cup play and will need to win out if they hope to advance to the finals. The U.S. will return tonight to face China at 7 p.m. while Australia plays Japan at 9 p.m.