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Cathi Aradi

USA Gold Wins Canada Cup Championship; USA Blue Places Third

USA Gold and USA Blue both won their second round games today and will face each other tonight at 9 p.m. (CDT) in the winner's bracket final of the Canada Cup at Surrey, British Columbia.

USA Gold defeated Australia 3-0, while USA Blue defeated Japan 1-0. Both teams improve to 9-0 overall and 2-0 in the playoff rounds.

Leah O'Brien-Amico provided all of USA Gold's offense with a three-run homer in the second inning. After walks to Stacey Nuveman and Jennifer Brundage put runners on first and second, O'Brien-Amico followed with a home run to right field, her first of the tournament.

After giving up a leadoff double to open the game, USA Gold starter Lisa Fernandez allowed only two hits the rest of the way to finish with a three-hit complete game shutout. Fernandez recorded 12 strikeouts.

Barbara Jordan scored on a wild pitch in the first inning for the only run of the game and Christa Williams pitched a two-hitter as USA Blue advanced to the winner's bracket finals.

USA Blue scored its run without benefit of a hit, as Jordan and Kim Maher walked and Teri Klement reached on an error to load the bases. Jordan came home on the wild pitch for the game's lone run. USA Blue was held to two hits by Japan pitcher Kumiko Ito.

Williams pitched out of a jam in the first inning after Japan loaded the bases on two walks and a single. Williams struck out six and survived five walks to improve to 4-0 in the tournament. Saturday's win was USA Blue's seventh shutout in nine Canada Cup games.

USA Gold posted a 4-3-1 record against USA Blue in the Coca-Cola Challenge Series prior to the Canada Cup.

The winner of tonight's game advances directly to the championship game, scheduled for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (CDT). The loser of tonight's game must win the loser's bracket final Sunday at 3 p.m. for a chance to play for the championship.