USA softball wins pair at Pan Ams

RIO de JANEIRO, Brazil – Following two days of delays due to heavy rain and wind damage to the softball complex at the XV Pan American Games, the U.S. National Team downed Brazil, 7-0 (5), and Colombia, 4-0, on Wednesday to open the event at a perfect 2-0 and improve its record to 74-3 all-time at the Pan Am Games.

Former Tennessee hurler Monica Abbott (5 IP, 0 H, 0 BB) struck out 12 over five innings of work against the Colombian squad while combining with Jennie Ritter (2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 5 K) on a no-hitter.

In Wednesday's opener, Jennie Finch struck out 11 over four frames of effort before Alicia Hollowell entered the circle in relief to fire one perfect inning and wrap-up a 7-0 triumph over Pan Am host Brazil.

The U.S. scored in each of the five innings against the Brazilians with two runs in the first and fourth innings and single tallies in the second, third and fifth. Right fielder Laura Berg led the offense with a 2-for-2, two-run, one-RBI effort, while shortstop Natasha Watley (1-for-2, two runs, RBI), left fielder Jessica Mendoza (1-for-2, two runs, RBI), designated player Crystl Bustos (1-for-2, RBI) and third baseman Andrea Duran (1-for-2, RBI) each knocked in a single run in the victory.

In the day's second matchup, Duran launched a grand slam in the fourth inning off Colombian pitcher Janey Penata to provide the necessary support for Abbott and Ritter's outstanding combined effort in the circle. In the game, Abbott struck out eight of the first nine hitters she faced while throwing 43 of her 52 pitches for strikes.

The Red, White & Blue are now 18-0 during its 2007 summer tour including championships at the Canada Cup and the KFC World Cup of Softball.

Team USA is slated to play Cuba and Venezuela on Thursday.

Check into the USA Softball website at and Tennessee Lady Vol website at for info on Monica Abbott's continuing participation with the U.S. National Team.

Live stats will not be available for the Pan Am Games softball tourney.

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