August 7, 1999
Winnipeg, Canada - The USA Softball Women's National Team defeated Canada 5-0 Saturday to advance to the gold medal game of the Pan American Games. USA, which has captured the gold medal at the last three Pan American Games, will play the Canada-Cuba winner for the gold medal.
"I'm pleased with the way the team came out and took care of business today," USA head coach Ralph Raymond said. "We knew Canada would come out fired up, and we needed to get ahead early. The home runs by (Stacey) Nuveman and (Crystl) Bustos allowed (Lisa) Fernandez to go out and throw her game."
Canada and USA began their first-round playoff game Friday night before rain forced the game to be postponed after only one-half inning. The teams resumed play this morning at 10 a.m. with no score.
UCLA's Stacey Nuveman (LaVerne, Calif.) gave USA the only run it would need with a first-pitch line drive over the left-center field fence in the second inning. Crystl Bustos put USA up 4-0 in the third inning with a first-pitch, 3-run blast over the left-field fence, scoring a pair of Bruins - Dot Richardson (Orlando, Fla.) and Christie Ambrosi (Overland Park, Kan.).
USA scored again in the sixth inning when Nuveman drew a one-out walk. Julie Smith, pinch running for Nuveman, advanced to second on a wild pitch and later advanced to third on a Jennifer Brundage (UCLA/Irvine, Calif.) single to left field. With bases loaded, Canada pitcher Katherine Iggulden unleashed her second wild pitch, allowing Smith to score. Iggulden got Richardson and Laura Berg to both ground out to the mound to end the inning.
USA pitcher Lisa Fernandez (UCLA/Long Beach, Calif.) provided another outstanding performance, striking out 17 of 24 batters faced and giving up only three hits. Fernandez, who has posted 47 strikeouts in 21 shutout innings during the tournament, improves to 3-0.
Fernandez held Canada hitless until the fourth inning when, with two outs, Chris Parris-Washington tapped an off-speed pitch to second base and beat out the throw to first. Nathalie Fradette followed with a single to right field, and advanced to second on the failed attempt to tag Parris-Washington at third base. Fernandez then got Erin Woods to strikeout to end Canada's scoring threat.
Berg, Bustos and Brundage each went 2-for-3 at the plate, and Ambrosi and Nuveman each had a hit. Bustos also tallied a team-high three RBI.
With the win, USA improves to 11-0 while Canada falls to 7-4.
The USA now has outscored its opponents 82-1 and has posted 113 hits while holding opponents to only 17 hits. In addition, USA has struck out 153 batters in 73 innings of work while increasing its winning streak to 41 at the Pan American Games dating back to 1987.
"We need to go out tonight and finish the job we came here to do," Raymond said. "I'm confident the team will come out prepared and ready to play no matter who the opponent."
USA 5, Canada 0 CAN 000 000 0 - 0 3 1 USA 013 001 x - 5 8 0 Bastarache, Iggulden (5) and Smith. Fernandez and Nuveman. W - Fernandez (3-0). L - Bastarache. E - CAN 1 (Vairo). DP - CAN 2. LOB - CAN 3, USA 6. HR - USA 2 (Bustos, Nuveman). SH - USA 1 (Berg). WP - CAN 2 (Iggulden). HBP - USA 1 (Richardson by Bastarache). RUNS - USA 5 (Richardson, Ambrosi, Bustos, Nuveman, J. Smith).