US pitchers toss no-hitters

April 19, 2004, 9:47 a.m. (ET)
U.S. pitchers toss no-hitters
Livorno, Italy---The USA Softball Women’s National Team, competing in its first games since the conclusion of the collegiate portion of the ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour, crushed Parma in a double-header sweep. The U.S. clicked on all cylinders as the pitching staff combined for back-to-back no-hitters and the U.S. offense posted 36 runs in the two games.
Cat Osterman (Houston, TX) and Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) combined for the five inning no-hitter in game one as the Red, White and Blue cruised to the 17-0 victory. Osterman fanned all nine batters she faced in the first three innings and Finch fanned four of the six she encountered. The duo faced the minimum number of batters after Barbara Mussi reached on an error and was thrown out trying to steal to end the fourth inning.
Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) was the table setter all day going 3-for-4 and scoring three times. Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, CA), Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, CA) and Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, CA) each homered in the game, while Leah O’Brien-Amico drove a ball to center field that got past the centerfielder for an inside-the-park home run.
In game one each U.S. starter had at least one hit and O’Brien-Amico and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) led the RBI count with three apiece.
Game two was much of the same with the U.S. pitching remaining dominant and the U.S. offense staying red hot with the 19-0 win.
Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, NV) and Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, CA) combined for the no-hitter in game two that was shortened to four innings due to the mercy rule. Stacey Nuveman (LaVerne, CA) got her first start of the year in game two after spending the first part of the tour recovering from minor surgery and she made the most of it. In the game she went 3-for-3 that included a double with four RBI.
Tairia Mims Flowers (Tucson, AZ) was also impressive at the plate going 3-for-3 with a home run and five RBI. Once again each U.S. starter collected at least one hit in the game. Bustos drove in three RBI in the game and Nicole Giordano (Saugus, CA) went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
The National Team will be in Rome on April 19 and 20 touring before returning to training in Tirrenia, Italy on April 21. The U.S. concludes its competition series in Italy versus the Italian Women’s National Team in a three game series April 23-25.