BEIJING, China (Courtesy USA Softball)– It wasn’t the United States or Canada who was victorious today as the game was suspended in the top of the fourth inning due to rain with the U.S. trailing Canada 1-0. The team waited it out through two rain delays before the game was called. It will be resumed tomorrow Friday, August 15 following the USA vs. Japan game at Noon. Projected time is 30 minutes after the conclusion of the regularly scheduled game.
Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) worked three complete innings, allowing no hits with three strikeouts while Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.) recorded the sole hit of the game in the third inning with a single to right centerfield.
Abbott made her first Olympic start in the circle for the Red, White and Blue and had a tough first outing. She was called for an illegal pitch for her first pitch facing leadoff hitter Melanie Matthews. Another illegal pitch would be called before Matthews hit a deep fly ball that Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) caught then dropped for her first-ever National team error in over 100 games played. The error allowed Matthews to reach second base.
“Monica has done this a little in the past but we have worked on it,” said head coach Mike Candrea. “I thought she did a great job making the adjustment right then so I think things are fine.”
“This was very much an uncharacteristic first inning for us,” added Candrea. “But we will get it turned around.”
Erin McClean would draw a walk, including another Abbott illegal pitch, with Matthews advancing to third on the illegal pitch. A sac fly by Jennifer Yee was enough for Matthews to score, breaking up a 12-inning shut out streak during these ‘08 Games. Then it was six straight up and down through the first two innings for Team USA before the rain began just 32 minutes into play starting an hour and 47 minute rain delay.
The teams resumed play and it was evident both teams were ready to take the field, Canada to defend their lead and the U.S. to make a comeback. The game was resumed at the bottom of the second with Canadian Megan Timpf up to bat with an 0-1 count and no outs. The rain delay seemed to settle the Olympic rookie as Abbott sat down two batters with strike outs and a ground out to close out the inning.
After scoring the first run of the game yesterday against Australia, Jung was responsible for the USA’s first hit of the game versus starting Canadian pitcher Dionne Meier in the third inning. But the Canadians then pulled off a double play to send the U.S. back to the dugout still trailing 1-0. The team has not trailed in Olympic competition since the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal game against Japan. Canada could not produce in the bottom of the third and with Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) up to bat in the top of the fourth the rain started again and the game was sent into a rain delay that was later suspended until tomorrow..
The team will be tested tomorrow as it faces one of its toughest opponents in Japan as well as the need to come from behind in order to defeat Canada. First pitch is set for Noon against Japan with the game versus Canada resumed 30 minutes after.