Aug. 6, 2003
SANTO DOMINGO, D.R. - The USA Softball Women's National team exploded for five runs in the first inning at the 2003 Pan American Games to overwhelm the Cuban National team 9-0. Posting its first victory of the 2003 Games, the U.S. extended its Pan Am win streak to 43-0. Former Bruin Lisa Fernandez got the win in the circle, tossing a one-hit shutout while striking out eight. Offensively, UCLA's Natasha Watley was 2-for-2 with a run scored and former Bruin Amanda Freed was also 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.
A series of three walks to Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif./UCLA), Leah O'Brien-Amico (Chino Hills, Calif.), and Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) led off the top of the first for the U.S. offense. Starting pitcher Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, Calif./UCLA) then singled back to the pitcher plating Watley before Lovieanne Jung (Westminster, Calif.) delivered a big two out two RBI single through the left side to score O'Brien-Amico and Bustos for a 3-0 advantage.
After a wild pitch that allowed Fernandez and Jung to advance 60 feet, Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif./UCLA) walked to load the bases for Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.), who came through with an infield single to third to score Fernandez and Jung for the final runs of the inning.
Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) was hit-by-a-pitch to lead off the second inning and after two outs she advanced into scoring position by stealing second base. After Fernandez was hit-by-a-pitch, Jung came through again with a single to third to score Mendoza. A single by Freed scored Fernandez for a 7-0 lead.
The U.S. was shutout in the third but managed a single run in the fourth and one in the fifth to end the game in five innings due to the international mercy rule. With one out in the fourth, Fernandez was hit-by-a-pitch for the second time in the game and was pinch-ran for by Nicole Giordano (Saugus, Calif.). Jung then picked up her third hit of the day to advance Giordano to third. Jung was caught in a run-down trying to steal second but stayed alive long enough for Giordano to score from third.
Six U.S. hitters reached base after being hit-by-a-pitch.
Fernandez was dominating in the circle, allowing only one hit while retiring eight via strikeout.
"Today was big win playing Cuba right out of the chute because they are going to be one of our biggest competitors here," Fernandez said. "Coach Candrea really wanted us to come here with some fire and we know that is how the Cubans play, with that same intensity. So it was important to come out today and combat that intensity and remind other teams in this tournament that the U.S. is going to come out and play ball, no matter who is in the other dugout."
In Wednesday's action, Team USA defeated Canada 1-0 on a walk-off home run by Leah O'Brien-Amico with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. The U.S. had just three hits in the win, O'Brien-Amico's home run, a lead-off bunt single by SS Natasha Watley in the first inning and a double to lead off the fourth inning by 3B Lisa Fernandez.
The U.S. returns to the diamond on Thursday at 7 am Pacific Time against Bahamas at Estadio de Softbol in Santo Domingo.