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USA Softball Dominates in Opener
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 08/12/2008
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Aug. 12, 2008

BEIJING -- Arizona alumna Jennie Finch threw four innings of no-hit ball and former Wildcat Caitlin Lowe tallied an inside-the-park home run as Team USA defeated Venezuela in dominating fashion, 11-0, in five innings.

The 11 runs scored by the U.S. set the Olympic record for runs scored in a game, and it came in their midday Olympic opener on Tuesday. The win was the 15th straight Olympic W for the Americans.

Team USA, the designated visitors, threatened in their first at-bat with two on and no out but faltered at the hands of Venezuelan pitcher Johana Gomez.

A hit-by-pitch and single set the table for another former Cat, Lovie Jung, to nail a sacrifice fly to right to plate the game's first run. An out later, UCLA grad Natasha Watley slammed a two-run shot to center clearing the bases. 

The next batter, Lowe, blooped a ball over the head of the left fielder who fell while attempting to make a play. The speedy Lowe rounded the bases as the ball rolled near the foul pole and crossed home plate before the throw from the outfield even reached the cutoff, making the score 4-0.

In the fourth, Crystl Bustos hit the third jack of the game for the U.S., and they tacked on six more in six outs to run rule Venezuela after five innigs, 11-0.

Finch (1-0) was relieved after four innings by Monica Abbott. She had struck out five and walked two, while facing the minimum number of batters. Abbott finished the game with two strikeouts, combining with the U.S. ace for the no-hitter.

Up Next: Team USA will face Australia, in a rematch of the gold medal game in the 2004 Athens Olympics. Cat Osterman is slated to get the start in the circle. First pitch is Tuesday at 9 p.m. Tucson time. Check your local listings for television coverage in your area.

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