Olympics: Canada vs. Australia
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Australia Advances to Medal Round with Win Over Canada
Bay Regula and Australian starting pitcher Tanya Harding matched each other inning by inning through the opening five innings, as neither allowed a run. After walking to batters in the top of the first and leaving them stranded, Bay Regula retired the Aussie batters in order until the fifth, when she allowed a walk and a single but was able to escape without a run. Meanwhile, Canada got one runner on base in each of the first four innings, but was unable to move any of them around the bases.
Australia opened the scoring in the top of the sixth inning, as Stacey Porter was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a wild pitch and a ground out. After Natalie Titcume was intentionally walked, Natalie Ward hit a soft line drive that Regula got a good piece of in the pitchers circle, but the deflection away from Jennifer Salling (Port Coquitlam, BC) at shortstop allowed Ward to narrowly beat the throw to first. Porter crossed the plate and gave Australia the 1-0 lead.
After Canada went down in order in the bottom of the inning on three groundouts, Australia added some insurance to their lead by scoring three runs in the top of the seventh by scraping a few hits and moving runners along. Danielle Lawrie (Langley, BC) relieved Bay Regula with runners on first and second with no outs, and allowed a hit up the middle that went off her own glove, and later gave up a bloop single just over second base to score another run.
Lauren Bay Regula pitched six strong innings for Canada, allowing three runs on only two hits with six strikeouts. Lawrie pitched one inning in relief and allowed one run on two hits. Despite frequent contact, the Canadian hitters had a single each from Caitlin Lever (Buffalo, New York), Sheena Lawrick (Calgary, AB) and Megan Timpf (Port Dover, ON).
The win clinched a medal-round berth for Australia (4-2), while Canada (3-3) is still in a good position to advance as well, but will need some help. Canadas final preliminary round game will be against Japan at 5:00am EDT tomorrow (live on TSN, RDS). A win over Japan would lock up the fourth medal-round berth for Canada. With a loss, they would need Australia to beat Venezuela (7:30am EDT), as Canada holds the tie-breaker over China and Chinese Taipei but not over Venezuela.
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