July 22 (UPI) — Team USA’s softball team continues to use pristine pitching to dominate opponents at the 2020 Summer Games. Monica Abbott tossed a one-hit shutout to beat Canada in their latest win Thursday in Fukushima, Japan.
Abbott threw nine strikeouts and issued three walks in the 102-pitch effort. Shortstop Amanda Chidester drove in the game’s lone run with an RBI single in the top of the fifth.
Team USA totaled seven hits, but left nine runners on base in the 1-0 victory.
Pitcher Sara Groenewegen recorded Canada’s only hit with a double to right field in the bottom of the sixth. Canada pinch runner Joey Lye attempted to score from first base on the play, but was thrown out at home plate.
Team USA center fielder Haylie McCleney went 3 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. Chidester went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Groenewegen allowed three hits and issued one walk in two innings.
Abbott also helped Team USA secure a 2-0 shutout of Italy in their first game of the 2020 Summer Games on Wednesday in Fukushima.
Ace pitcher Cat Osterman started that game and allowed just one hit and issued nine strikeouts in six scoreless innings. Abbott closed out the game with three consecutive strikeouts to earn a save.
Softball and baseball returned to the Olympics this month for the first time since the 2008 Summer Games. Abbott and Osterman were each members of Team USA’s runner-up squad in 2008. Team USA finished third in the baseball tournament at the 2008 Summer Games.
Team USA battles Mexico in another first-round softball game at 1:30 a.m. EDT Saturday at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.
Japan and Team USA are the only 2-0 teams in the Summer Games softball standings. Each game played Thursday was decided by one run.