Team USA downs Australia 3-1 behind Monica Abbot’s 18-strikeout performance at WBSC World Championship

Aug. 10, 2018, 9:51 a.m. (ET)

Chiba, Japan — In another outstanding performance in the circle, Abbott racked up 18 strikeouts en route to Team USA’s 3-1 win over Australia at ZOZO Marine Stadium. Improving to 8-0 at the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Championship, Team USA remains undefeated and is now 18-6 all-time against Australia in World Championship play.

 

“We knew it was going to be a tough game coming in and we got what we expected,” said Head Coach Ken Eriksen in the postgame press conference.

 

It didn’t take long for Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) to shut down the Australian offense, collecting three strikeouts in the top of the first inning to retire the side and give Team USA time at the plate. In the bottom half of the frame, the Red, White and Blue capitalized on an infield error as leadoff hitter Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) quickly took first and advanced to second on a passed ball. An RBI single from Delaney Spaulding (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) drove in McCleney to plate the first run of the game. Despite Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) singling to left to put two runners on, a fly out and strikeout closed out the first inning.

 

Both sides would go three-up, three-down through the next two frames, with Abbott delivering another six strikeouts to bring her count to nine after three complete innings.

 

A solo shot by Australia’s Stacey Porter led off the top of the fourth inning and tied the ballgame. While a single to left followed, another three strikeouts ensued to retire the Aussies. While Arioto would draw a leadoff walk to start the bottom half and move to second on a one-out sacrifice bunt from Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.), a groundout would bring up the fifth inning.

 

Abbott continued to work from the circle, fanning the next three batters to signal the start of the bottom half of the fifth. Janie Reed (Placentia, Calif.) hit a one-out double and advanced to third following a single from McCleney, while a walk to Ali Aguilar (Orangevale, Calif.) loaded the bases for the Red, White and Blue. The U.S. took back the lead after Reed crossed home on a fielder’s choice from Spaulding and McCleney slid home after a throwing error was made by the third baseman, putting USA back on top, 3-1.

 

The Aussies went down in order in the top of the sixth and while Kirsti Merrit (Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.) drew a one-out walk in the bottom half, she was caught stealing before an infield groundout closed out the sixth.

 

A scoreless seventh for the Aussies would give Abbott and Team USA the 3-1 win. Through seven innings, Abbott finished the game with 18 strikeouts and two hits allowed, while Spaulding led the offense with 2 RBI.

 

Team USA returns to action on Saturday, August 11 at 7 pm JT (5 am CT) to face world-ranked No. 2 Japan. Live stats will be available through USASoftball.com while streaming can be accessed by WBSC broadcast and live stream partners.

 

The top four finishers from each group advanced to the double page playoff round, while nations who did not advance are competing in the placement round. The World Championship finale will take center stage on August 12 at 7 pm JST following the bronze medal match at 2 p.m. JST. The top nation will claim the first of five available softball spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with Japan qualifying automatically as the host country.

 

About USA Softball
USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition in every state through a network of 69 local associations and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 150,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game. 

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.

 

About the World Baseball Softball Confederation
Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland -- the Olympic Capital -- the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the world governing body for baseball and softball. WBSC has 202 National Federation and Associate Members in 143 countries and territories across Asia, Africa, Americas, Europe and Oceania, which represent a united baseball/softball sports movement that encompasses over 65 million athletes and attracts approximately 150 million fans to stadiums worldwide annually. 

 

The WBSC governs all international competitions involving official National Teams. The WBSC oversees the Softball World Championships (Men, Women, U-19 Men, and U-19 Women), Premier12, World Baseball Classic, and Baseball World Cups (U-12, U-15, U-18, U-23 and Women's).

 

For more information, visit: www.wbsc.org.