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US softball wins twice, sets HR record

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - Jessica Mendoza had two of an Olympic softball-record four home runs hit by the United States in a 7-0 win Friday over Japan.

Crystl Bustos and Natasha Watley also homered for the Americans, who had nine hits in just 25 at bats. Bustos' solo shot in the fourth inning gave the U.S. its 7-0 lead.

The game was stopped after five innings by the mercy rule.

Monica Abbott pitched a one-hit shutout following back-to-back U.S. no-hitters thrown by teammates Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman.

Abbott had started a game against Canada that was postponed because of rain on Thursday and picked up following the Japan game on Friday. She didn't allow a hit through three innings of the game against Canada, though she was called for a couple of illegal pitches.

Canada took a 1-0 lead before the postponement, helped by an error, but the U.S. bounced back for an 8-1 victory by scoring four runs apiece in the sixth and seventh innings after the game resumed on Friday.

Japan's Ayumi Karino led off the first inning of the opening game with a single, stopping the no-hit streak for the U.S. But Abbott set down the next 15 batters in order, striking out five without issuing a walk.

"There is a quote," said Abbott, "'Your best defense is a good offense.'"

Osterman finished the last four innings against Canada, giving up just one hit while striking out eight batters. Andrea Duran drove in two runs to lead four Americans who drove in runs.

The U.S. women moved to 4-0 following their two wins Friday. Winners of their last 18 straight Olympic games dating back to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, outscored their opponents 29-1 in Beijing.

"The most important influence was the psychological aspect," Japan shortstop Rei Nishiyama said of playing the Americans. "We couldn't deal with today's competition."

Also on Friday, Canada edged China 1-0 to improve to 3-1 in competition, Australia topped Chinese Taipei to even its record to 2-2 and Venezuela rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Netherlands for its first win in four games.

08/15 09:21:28 ET


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