Lisa Fernandez Records 10 Strikeouts as USA Softball Defeats China
Aug. 1, 2002
Saskatoon, SK, Canada - Lisa Fernandez (Long Beach, Calif.) struck out ten and Nina Lindenberg (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) launched a two-run home run as the United States defeated China 4-0 at the Women's World Softball Championship Wednesday night.
With the win, the U.S. improved to 6-0 at the tournament - all of its wins have been by shutout - and secured the top playoff spot from its pool. Most likely, the U.S. will face Australia in the first game of the playoffs, which start Friday. China drops to 5-1.
'Tonight was a big game for us to win,' said USA head coach Mike Candrea. 'This puts us in the driver's seat in our pool with one game remaining.'
Lindenberg, who finished with two hits on the night, crushed her home run to straight-away center in the bottom of the second. The blast also scored Lyndsey Klein (Roseville, Calif.), who was pinch-running for Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.). Nuveman started the inning with a walk.
Fernandez, who escaped some trouble in the third, picked up her second win of the tournament. She finished with a three-hitter and one walk issued.
'There's nothing like pitching when you have a lead,' said Fernandez. 'It allows you to really mix up your game and keep the opposing team off balance.'
Team USA's other two runs came in the bottom of the sixth. Nicole Giordano (Saugus, Calif.) had an RBI-single back up the middle of the diamond to score Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif.), who was pinch-running for Fernandez after she reached base on an error. Lindenberg, who singled sharply to left field, eventually scored the final run of the game when a throw to cut her down at the plate went into the dirt.
China, utilizing back-to-back one-out singles and a two-out walk, worked the bases loaded in the top of the third, but a hard line-out to first ended the inning and the team's one scoring threat.
'This team is really taking care of the little things like good base running and defensive hustle,' said Fernandez. 'It's that type of commitment that's going to win us this world championship.'
The U.S. closes out the round-robin portion of its schedule Thursday, with a 5:30 p.m. game against Netherlands Antilles.