By Blythe Lawrence | Aug. 04, 2018, 11:50 a.m. (ET)
Members of the U.S. women's softball team acknowledge the crowd after defeating Mexico at the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship on Aug. 3, 2018 in Chiba, Japan.

 

Two up, two W’s.

With a 7-0 shutout victory over Chinese Taipei in five innings Saturday, the U.S. snagged its second win in as many games at the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship in Ichihara, Japan.

Sizzling pitching by Keilani Ricketts held the Chinese Taipei bats at bay. The Americans got theirs going in the second, posting five runs on five hits, with Ali Aguilar’s bases-loaded double being the big blow. Delaney Spaulding capped the scoring with a two-run homer to right field in the fourth inning.

Spaulding and Kirsti Merritt each had two hits, while Spaulding and Aguilar each posted three RBIs.

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Team USA is building toward what it hopes will be a successful defense of its 2016 world title. But more than a title is on the line in Japan: The tournament champion earns an automatic berth to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

After being absent from the past two editions of the Games, softball will be making its Olympic return in 2020. The Japanese won Olympic gold in softball the last time it was contested at the 2008 Games as the U.S. took silver.

Team USA opened play with a 5-2 win over Mexico on Friday. Its next game will be against the Netherlands on Sunday.

Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.