TUCSON--The world's best softball team showed why in?a?16-0 victory over No. 9-ranked Arizona before a crowd of 2,832 at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium Tuesday night to open Team USA's 'Bound 4 Beijing' tour of the country.
The potential Olympians?-- many of them?gold medalists including former Wildcats Lovie Jung and Jennie Finch -- will play some 60 games in 46 sites leading up to?the Summer Olympics in China. UA's Mike Candrea is taking a partial?leave of absence to coach the team for a second time after leading the United States to its third gold medal in the Athens Olympics?in 2004.
UA also is represented on the U.S. team?by freshly departed All-American Caitlin Lowe and 2006 star Alicia Hollowell.
Arizona squandered its best chance to score in the bottom of the first after a leadoff double by Brittany Lastrapes, a single by K'Lee Arredondo and a subsequent?two-out walk by Stacie Chambers -- all off Hollowell, who then dug in and struck out Callista Balko.
Team USA opened the scoring with a leadoff home run by Andrea Duran in the top of the second, and then added two runs in the fourth, one run helped by one of UA's four errors in the game, two of those by the Wildcat who took the decision, Taryne Mowatt.
The visiting nationals added three runs in the fifth and?capped the scoring with a nine-run seventh keyed by?a two-run single by Jessica Mendoza,?a grand slam by Tairia Flowers and a show-stopping opposite field three-run homer by Lowe, who helped UA win its twin national championships in 2006 and 2007 as a lefty slap-hitting leadoff batter.
The Cats had the first inning hits, a single by Sam Banister and a pinch-hit double by Laine Roth, the latter off multiple national player of the year Cat Osterman. Banister got her hit off Finch.
Candrea wrapped up the bottom of the seventh throwing Monica Abbott, who UA beat twice to win the national championship last year. This year's squad went down in order to the former Tennessee star, who struck out the side.
The crowd was the seventh largest in stadium history.