Maracay, Venezuela -- The USA passed its first real test of the 2001 Pan Am Qualifier by defeating host Venezuela 6-0 in front of a standing room only crowd estimated at over 2,500. Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) dominated the Venezuelan team allowing only one hit while striking out 14 batters.

The USA bats were once again silenced in the first two innings but came alive in the third. Lauren Bauer (Santa Ana, CA) began the offensive attack with a single to shortstop and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nichole Thompson (Irvine, Ca). Nina Lindenberg (Anaheim Hills, CA) then singled up the middle to score Bauer and collect her ninth RBI of the tournament. Jenny Topping (Whittier, CA) kept the inning going with a double to left field that scored Lindenberg. The final run of the inning came when Jaime Clark (Tustin, CA) hit a triple down the right field line that plated Topping and gave the USA a 3-0 advantage.

Thompson added a run in the fourth with a single up the middle that scored Courtney Dale (Fresno, CA) who reached first after being hit by a pitch.

Topping continued to be in a hitting zone in the seventh inning. Lindenberg led off with a walk and scored on a home run by Topping to left field.

For the game, Topping went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and three RBI. Clark was the only other player to post more than one hit in the game. The USA is now hitting .389 as a team and is the only team to not allow a run in the tournament. Opponents are hitting a mere .048 and have struck out an average of 10 times per game.

The USA continues playoff action today at 7 p.m. versus the winner of Canada/Netherlands Antillas. The winner will advance to the finals on Friday.

Go to USA Softball's Pan Am QualifierPan Am Qualifier page for boxscores, game summaries, schedules and players' journals.

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