USA Softball opens Japan Cup with Win

Nov. 16, 2006, 1:23 p.m. (ET)

USA Softball opens Japan Cup with 8-0 win

Yokohama, Japan---The USA Softball Women’s National Team opened the 2006 Japan Cup with an 8-0 victory over China. The game was called in the fifth inning due to the international run rule.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) was almost perfect in the circle for the Red, White and Blue allowing only one hit while striking out seven in five innings of work. Her bid for a perfect game ended in the top of the fourth inning when China picked up a single.
The U.S. jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and extended the lead to 7-0 in the second when Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) smashed a grand slam to clear the bases. China held the powerful U.S. scoreless in the bottom of the third but in the fourth Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) collected her third hit of the game to score the final run that would end the game.
Mendoza, who was the leading hitter for the U.S. at the World Cup and the World Championships earlier this year, was once again the top offensive performer going 3-for-3 in the game. Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif.) also came up big going 2-for-2 but it was Duran’s grand slam that provided the highlight of the game.
The U.S. will close out the round-robin portion of the tournament with a double-header on Friday. The U.S. will face Holland at 8 p.m. CST before facing their arch rival Japan at 12:30 a.m. CST on Saturday.