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Womens National Team blanks Australia

By Codi Warren | July 12, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) threw a one-hit shutout as Team USA blanked Australia, 4-0, Friday night at the General Tire World Cup of Softball VIII the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Americans registered six hits against the Australians, as Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) led the way with a 1-for-3 performance, a run scored and two runs driven in. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) also went 1-for-3, while Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) went 1-for-2 with a run scored.

“The defense behind me did an amazing job,” said Moore. “They came up with some clutch plays against a tough Australian team.”

Team USA opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning after Salvarola and Moultrie reached on back-to-back singles.  Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) sacrificed the runners into scoring position before Gibson’s two-RBI single to right field gave the United States a 2-0 lead. Gibson stole second before coming around to score on a Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) double. Arioto later scored on a single from Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) as Team USA led 4-0 after three.

Team Australia threatened in the fourth as Stacey Porter led off with a walk and moved to second on a ground out. After Jodie Bowering reached on the second walk of the inning, Moore got out of the inning on a fielder’s choice.

“We got off to a slow start, but we kept attacking the ball at the plate,” said Gibson.  “We did a good job of producing in the third inning, but we had a couple other chances to score a couple more runs.  We came out ready to play today and our intensity stayed up throughout all seven innings.”

After sitting the Americans down in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Australians tried to extend the momentum into the fifth. A leadoff single from Stacey McManus put a runner aboard before an error on a fielder’s choice gave Team Australia runners at first and second with no outs. Moore worked out of the jam, retiring two of the inning’s three outs via strikeout and not allowing Australia to capitalize in the inning.

Australian pitcher Kaia Parnaby managed to shut down the Team USA offense after entering the game at the start of the fourth inning. Parnaby pitched the final three innings and allowed no hits and just one walk. Vanessa Stokes garnered the loss for Australia. Stokes allowed the four earned runs on five hits and one walk.

Moore went the distance for Team USA, holding Australia to just one hit and two walks. She struck out four.

The USA Softball Women’s National team will return to World Cup action on Saturday evening with a match up against reigning International Softball Federation (ISF) World Champion Japan at 8 p.m. CT.  For more information visit USASoftball.com.

Other action at the General Tire World Cup:

Game 1: Canada 13, Puerto Rico 3 (4 innings)

Canada scored nine runs in the second inning en route to a 13-3 run-rule win over Puerto Rico Friday afternoon. Leadoff hitter Joey Lye led Canada with a 3-for-3 performance and scored three runs.

Puerto Rico took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Dayanira Diaz scored on a Charlise Castro sacrifice fly. They later added two runs in the third as Aisha Figueroa reached on a single and came around to score on a two-run home run by Nicole Osterman.

Canadian starting pitcher Melissa Demore went three innings, allowing the three runs on three hits and one walk. Sara Growenewegen pitched the final inning, allowing two hits. Puerto Rico’s trio of pitchers allowed the 13 runs on eight hits and eight walks. Lissette Garay picked up the loss for Puerto Rico.

Game 2: Canada 2, Japan 1

Natalie Wideman’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning gave Canada a 2-1 over Japan on Friday afternoon. Pinch runner Erika Polidori scored the winning run after Kelsey Haberl reached on a single to start the inning. Sara Hopwood’s sacrifice bunt moved Polidori to second before Wideman’s line drive went to wall in left to end the game.

Canada took an early 1-0 in third when Wideman scored on an RBI single from Caitlin Lever. Team Japan responded in the fifth as Sonoka Kunyoshi scored on a fielding error.

Sara Plourde earned the win in relief after coming in for Jenna Caira in the fifth. Plourde kept the Japanese in check, allowing no hits and just one walk in 2.2 innings pitched. Caira allowed the one unearned run on four hits and one walk.

Nana Okamura pitched 2.1 innings in the loss for Japan. She allowed the winning run in the seventh and three hits. Team Japan’s starting pitcher Kana Nakano went four innings, allowing one run on three hits.