USA beats UofA

It was billed as the number one team in college against the number one team in the world. In the end Team USA just had too much talent and handled the Arizona Wildcats 6-1 in a softball exhibition at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The ballpark was packed to the gills as over 3,500 fans came out to see the US Olympians face the hometown Wildcats. Extra seats had to be installed, but fans were still turned away long before the first pitch.

The most popular player on Team USA is pitcher Jennie Finch, a former Wildcat hurler. Finch was on top of her game, allowing just one hit, while striking out 13 in five innings of work. Finch allowed just one run when shortstop Kristie Fox touched her up for a solo home run in the second inning.

The home run actually snapped an eight-game scoreless streak that had lasted over 42 consecutive innings. The pitcher who replaced Finch at the UA, All-American Alicia Hollowell, was not quite as sharp. Hollowell struggled with her control and had to deal with inconsistent fielding behind her. She scattered six hits, while walking four batters and hitting two others.

The Wildcat defense committed three errors in the contest.

Team USA got things started in the first. Hollowell retired the first two hitters, but plunked Crystl Bustos and then walked Lisa Fernandez. Jenny Topping singled Bustos home to give team USA the 1-0 lead. Hollowell walked the bases loaded but closed out the inning with a strikeout of Jessica Mendoza.

Fox's homerun tied the game at one, but from there on out it was all the Olympians. Team USA scored three in the third and two in the sixth to close out the scoring.

Texas' Cat Osterman pitched two scoreless innings to seal the win for Team USA.

It was a homecoming for several members of the Olympic team. Head coach Mike Candrea is the Wildcats' coach. He is taking a leave of absence to coach Team USA. Former Wildcats Finch, Lovie Jung and Leah O'Brien-Amico are all on the Olympic team, while Nicole Giordano is an alternate.

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