Saskatoon, SK, Canada – Michele Smith (Califon, N.J.) threw a no-hitter and her supporting offense supplied plenty of runs as the United States defeated Russia 14-0 Monday afternoon in the Women’s World Championship.
It was the third no-hitter of Smith’s World Championship career, and she was denied a perfect game only by a fielding error at the start of the fifth inning. She finished the game with four strikeouts.
The United States is now 4-0 in the tournament after winning the inaugural meeting between these two countries. Russia drops to 1-3 in the tournament.
“I thought we played with a lot of emotion last night and it seemed to carry over to our performance today,” said USA head coach Mike Candrea. “This team is staying focused and getting the job done. We have to continue to get better every game.”
Sporting a 3-0 lead after two innings, the U.S., which has won all four of its games by shutout, put the game away with a five-run third and a six-run fourth.
Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.), Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.), Smith and Teri Goldberg (Ft. Collins, Colo.) all had two hits each, as the U.S. rapped out 13 hits in the game.
Watley set the tone early when she started the bottom of the first inning with a stand-up triple to right-center. She later scored on a sacrifice fly from Nicole Giordano (Saugus, Calif.). Nuveman added a sacrifice fly later in the frame, and the U.S. was up 2-0 after one inning.
Nina Lindenberg’s (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) lead-off home run in the bottom of the second inning pushed the advantage to 3-0 and highlighted Team USA’s offensive display.
In the third, Nuveman, Goldberg and Tairia Mims (Tucson, Ariz.) all had RBI-singles, while Amanda Freed (Cypress, Calif.) added an RBI-groundout and Giordano scored on a wild pitch.
The fourth inning included a two-run double from Giordano, who finished the game with a team-high three RBI, and run-producing singles from Smith and Goldberg. The inning’s other two runs came on an infield error on a ball hit by Watley.
Team USA continues pursuit of its fifth straight Women’s World Championship with a game against Chinese Taipei Tuesday evening at 6:30.
Game notes: Team USA’s pitching staff has thrown 151 consecutive World Championship innings without allowing an earned run. The last team to score an earned run against the United States was Chinese Taipei on August 2, 1994…The U.S. has won 59 consecutive round-robin games at the Women’s World Championship. Its last round-robin loss came Aug. 25, 1970 against the Philippines…The United States’ overall Women’s World Championship record is 90-9.
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