USA Blanks Argentina
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2011
USA blanks Argentina 8-0 and moves into Pan Am playoffs as No. 1 seed
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The USA Softball Women’s National Team completed round robin action of the Pan American Games on Friday evening with a 8-0 shutout victory over Argentina. The win marked the fifth shutout of the Games for Team USA as they tallied a perfect 7-0 record over five days of action.
“It was real important for Whitney Canion to get back in the circle today and she did a great job of shutting Argentina down,” said head coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla.). “She did a really good job at spotting her pitching and establishing her game early. Our hitters really hit balls right at people tonight and I was very happy about the way we squared up and they finally started to fall at the end.”
The U.S. earned the No. 1 seed heading into playoffs and Cuba, Canada and Venezuela all tied for the No. 2 seed at 5-2 overall. The tiebreaker of runs allowed among the games between three teams was called upon and Cuba earned No. 2.
Playoffs- Saturday (October 22)
GM 1: No. 3 Canada vs. No. 4 Venezuela – 4 p.m.
GM 2: No. 1 USA vs. No. 2 Cuba – 6 p.m.
Finals- Sunday (October 23)
GM 3: Winner of GM 1 vs. Loser of GM 2 – 10 a.m. (Bronze Medal Game)
GM 4: Winner of GM 2 vs. Winner of GM 3 – Noon (Gold Medal Game)
“I think the team is in a good mental frame right now and they have gotten some good at bats against some quality pitching in this tournament,” added Eriksen. “I think we are prepared for what Cuba is going to throw at us tomorrow and it is going to be a challenge. Cuba is a good team and we are looking forward to a great weekend.”
Through seven games of round-robin play, the USA has outscored its opponents 54-6 and has a team batting average of .397. Leading the stat sheet in the RBI column is Stacy May-Johnson (Reno, Nev.) and Jenae Leles (Sacramento, Calif.) with nine apiece. Christi Orgeron (New Orleans, La.) is hitting .600 (6-for-10) in five games played and Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) in seven games played is hitting .500 (6-for-12). From the circle, the pitching staff has an ERA of 1.11 in 38 innings pitched.
Winning pitcher Whitney Canion (Aledo, Texas) shutout Argentina and tallied her first victory of the Pan American Games. The south paw allowed just one hit and one walk and retired ten batters via the strikeout.
“It was nice to get back out there and get into my groove,” said Canion. “It was nice to out there and get the win for this team. They were hitting the ball hard and things started to piece together. As a team right now we are still peaking and we can get better every day and I am looking forward to that this weekend.”
The powerful swing of Orgeron gave the U.S. the lead in the bottom of the second with a towering solo home run, her second of the Pan Am Games. Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) then knocked in a single and advanced into scoring position on an errant throw from the Argentina right fielder. Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) then roped her first double of the Games through the left side scoring Cochran for the solid 2-0 lead.
Canion the defense behind her held strong through the first three innings with seven strikeouts and one runner reaching base on a Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) fielding error.
The U.S. hammered out an additional run in the third inning when Molly Johnson (Tucson, Ariz.) led things off with a double to left field. She moved to third on an extremely high flyout from Gibson and then scored on a May-Johnson single to left field that pushed a 3-0 advantage.
A leadoff bunt from Cochran jump started the offense for the home team in the fourth inning before Hoagland reached on a fielding error from the Argentina shortstop to put two runners on board. A chopping fielder’s choice from Kelly Grieve (Asheville, N.C.) moved the runners over but high flyout from Gibson left them stranded keeping the 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, Orgeron knocked in her second RBI of the game when she drove a two-out fly ball deep to the left center wall while Leles, who reached on a single, crossed home plate for the fourth U.S. run. Cochran then drove Orgeron around the bags with a triple also to right center giving the U.S. a 5-0 bump. Hoagland then sent a chopper to the third baseman who looked to have it but as she bobbled the ball Cochran scored and Hoagland reached pushing 6-0 USA on top.
The U.S. sealed the run-rule victory in the bottom of the sixth inning when Gibson connected on a double down the right field to start things off before May-Johnson smacked a homer to centerfield for the walk-off 8-0 decision.
In the contest, Cochran led the way going 3-for-3 with one RBI while May-Johnson knocked in three RBI.