Sports

Mendoza helps get USA softball party started at World Cup

Stanford grad hits 3-run home run, drives in four as U.S. beats Canada

Stanford grad and Olympian Jessica Mendoza hit a home run, doubled and drove in four runs as the United States senior national softball team downed Canada, 9-0, in six innings Thursday on the first day of the World Cup of Softball in Oklahoma City.

Cardinal grad Lauren Lappin caught Monica Abbott's two-hit gem while Jennie Finch, who announced her retirement from softball following World Cup competition, also hit a home run and drove in two runs.

"I had Lauren behind the plate during the World Championships in Venezuela and we work very well together," Abbott said. "I was just trying to stay in the moment, stay focused."

Mendoza got the party started with an RBI double in the first run. She added an exclamation point in the form of a three-run home run in the sixth.

"The coolest thing about playing at the World Cup is the fact this is home," Mendoza said. "To be able to lead off the game the way we did is another example of how much we love playing at home."

Abbott struck out the first nine Canadians she faced and finished with 16 strikeouts, of a possible 18 outs.

"Monica Abbott dominated," Mendoza said. "She is one of the best pitchers in the world. I'm so glad she's on my team because, I'll tell you, I'm one of those strikeouts."

After giving up a single in the bottom of the sixth, Abbott finished the job with three consecutive strikeouts, all of which were looking.

The U.S. plays Japan on Friday. The Japanese held on to beat the USA Futures, 3-2, on Thursday. The Futures scored twice in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run on second when the game ended on a line drive to the shortstop.

"I love playing Japan," Mendoza said. "They play such great defense that you have to have everything working."

The World Cup continues through Monday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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