Article by Cody Warren courtesy of USA Softball
OKLAHOMA CITY – Jessica Moore (Sutter, Calif.) threw a one-hit shutout as Team USA blanked Australia, 4-0, Friday night at the General Tire World Cup of Softball VIII the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. The Americans registered six hits against the Australians, as Lauren Gibson (Pasadena, Md.) led the way with a 1-for-3 performance, a run scored and two runs driven in. Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Amanda Chidester (Allen Park, Mich.) also went 1-for-3, while Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
“The defense behind me did an amazing job,” said Moore. “They came up with some clutch plays against a tough Australian team.”
Team USA opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning after Salvarola and Moultrie reached on back-to-back singles. Taylor Hoagland (Flower Mound, Texas) sacrificed the runners into scoring position before Gibson’s two-RBI single to right field gave the United States a 2-0 lead. Gibson stole second before coming around to score on a Valerie Arioto (Pleasanton, Calif.) double. Arioto later scored on a single from Nicole Hudson (Webb City, Mo.) as Team USA led 4-0 after three.
Team Australia threatened in the fourth as Stacey Porter led off with a walk and moved to second on a ground out. After Jodie Bowering reached on the second walk of the inning, Moore got out of the inning on a fielder’s choice.
“We got off to a slow start, but we kept attacking the ball at the plate,” said Gibson. “We did a good job of producing in the third inning, but we had a couple other chances to score a couple more runs. We came out ready to play today and our intensity stayed up throughout all seven innings.”
After sitting the Americans down in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Australians tried to extend the momentum into the fifth. A leadoff single from Stacey McManus put a runner aboard before an error on a fielder’s choice gave Team Australia runners at first and second with no outs. Moore worked out of the jam, retiring two of the inning’s three outs via strikeout and not allowing Australia to capitalize in the inning.
Australian pitcher Kaia Parnaby managed to shut down the Team USA offense after entering the game at the start of the fourth inning. Parnaby pitched the final three innings and allowed no hits and just one walk. Vanessa Stokes garnered the loss for Australia. Stokes allowed the four earned runs on five hits and one walk.
Moore went the distance for Team USA, holding Australia to just one hit and two walks. She struck out four.