USA Advances To Playoffs In Women's World Softball Championship

Aug. 2, 2002

Saskatoon, SK, Canada - Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, Nev.) fired an 11-strikeout no-hitter and Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) and Teri Goldberg (Ft. Collins, Colo.) each hit a home run as the United States defeated the Netherlands Antilles 7-0 Thursday night at the Women's World Softball Championship.

With the win, in a game that went just five innings due to the mercy-rule, Team USA closed out its portion of the round-robin schedule with a 7-0 record, out-scoring its opponents 53-0. The United States opens the playoffs Friday, with a 6:30 p.m. game against Australia.

The Netherlands Antilles, which did not make the playoffs, finishes the tournament with a 1-6 mark.

Harrigan, picking up the second no-hitter of her World Championship career, missed a perfect game on a Team USA defensive error in the top of the fourth inning.

'We are blessed with some great arms on this pitching staff,' said USA head coach Mike Candrea. 'The way they have dominated this week is a tribute to how they have prepared for this event.'

Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) started the game with a triple down the right-field line in the bottom of the first, and Nicole Giordano (Saugus, Calif.) promptly brought her home with a sacrifice fly to center.

In the third, Mendoza plated Watley and Giordano, who had both singled, when she drove a ball over the fence in straight-away center, giving the U.S. a 3-0 lead.

Goldberg's home run, which was a line-drive shot to left, started the bottom of the fourth, and Watley, with her team-high third hit of the game, drove home pinch-runner Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) with a single to left. Jung was in the game for Tairia Mims (Tucson, Ariz.), who had singled with one out in the inning.

The final run of the game came in the fifth, when Nina Lindenberg (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) doubled off the left-field wall and scored one batter later off a Michele Smith (Califon, N.J.) single to center.

'This team is prepared physically, mentally and emotionally and knows how to win,' Candrea said. 'We've put ourselves in a position to do what we came here to accomplish - and that's to win a World Championship.'

Game notes: Thursday night's game improved Team USA's overall Women's World Championship record to 93-9...the win was also the 62nd consecutive round-robin World Championship (WC) victory for the squad. Its last WC round-robin loss came Aug. 15, 1970 against the Philippines...Team USA pitchers have now gone 168 consecutive WC innings without allowing an earned run. The last earned run scored against the U.S. came from Chinese Taipei on Aug. 2, 1994...the United States improved to 2-0 overall against the Netherlands Antilles in WC competition.

courtesy of USA Softball

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