OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. --- The USA bats returned to form against China on day three of the World Cup to earn an 11-3 run rule win. Entering the game, the U.S. had managed only four runs on nine hits in its first two games. Against China, the Red, White and Blue exploded for 11 runs on 11 hits and scored in every inning.
Back-to-back errors by China in the first inning led to a sacrifice fly by Jenny Topping (Whittier, Calif.) that scored Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) for a 1-0 lead.
Five runs in the second inning put the game out of reach early. Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.), who leads the U.S. at the plate with a .600 average, tripled to score Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) who reached on a fielder’s choice. An infield single by Watley plated Galindo for the second run of the inning.
Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) delivered a knockout blow with a three run blast to deep right field for a 6-1 lead. It was the second time this year she has homered against China dating back to the International Sports Invitational in June.
Galindo added to her RBI total with a two run double in the third inning to score Flowers and Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) to extend the lead to 8-1.
China mounted a come back in the top of the fourth inning with a lead-off walk to Zhou Yi and a single by Li Chunxia that chased USA’s Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) from the circle.
Right-hander Alicia Hollowell (Suisun, Calif.) came in relief but was unable to silence the rally allowing RBI singles to Xin Minhong and Sun Li. An error by Watley allowed the third run of the inning to score.
With runners on the corners, Hollowell was pulled after just 2/3 of an inning and replaced by right-hander Jamie Southern (Clovis, Calif.) who struck out Pan Xia to end the inning.
Mendoza used her short game to get things started in the bottom of the fourth inning by reaching on a bunt single. Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.), pinch hitting for Topping, crushed her second pinch hit home run of the week. A triple by Clark followed by a double by Flowers plated the final run of the game.
Galindo and Mendoza each contributed two hits and three RBI in the game, while Clark went 2-for-2 with a triple. Abbott picked up the first win of her national team career after a solid outing.
China’s Li Qi suffered the loss allowing six hits, seven earned run and two walks. Li Chunxia, who was 2-for-3 in the game, leads the tournament with an .833 batting average.
China will need a big win over Australia at 6 p.m. tonight to keep its hopes alive for a spot in the finals. The U.S. will look to lock up a spot in the finals when it faces Japan at 8 p.m. CT.