Monica Abbott pitches one-hitter as U.S. scrapes past Canada
Monica Abbot pitched a complete-game, one-hit shutout as the United States softball team defeated world No. 3 Canada 1-0 Thursday in the second of five Olympic opening round games.
The 35-year-old Olympic silver medalist had her best stuff working when the U.S. needed it, as the offense failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities to create separation from their North American rivals.
“It felt really good out there,” Abbott told NBCSN analyst Jessica Mendoza after the game. “I knew [Canada was] going to come out swinging hard... [Catcher] Aubree [Munro] and I had a lot of good conversation about our pitching plan and how to give our offense the best chance no matter how long it took for them to score.”
The United States loaded the bases in the top of the first after a pair of singles and a hit by pitch, but Canada pitcher Sara Groenewegen drew an inning-ending strikeout from Michelle Moultrie to escape the jam.
Groenewegen stranded another pair of American baserunners in the second inning, then relief pitcher Jenna Caira retired the next six batters to keep Canada on level terms.
The United States finally scratched out a run in the top of the fifth when Amanda Chidester drove in Haylie McCleney with a two-out RBI single. Team USA would load the bases later in the inning, but again come up empty as pinch hitter Bubba Nickles struck out to end the frame.