Two wins by the U.S. softball team at the World University Games on Monday earned it a daunting medal-round game against Canada.
Sara Lovestrand’s RBI triple in the bottom of the first led the Americans to a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic. The Americans then beat Australia 3-0 in the completion of a game suspended Saturday at 0-0 in extra innings due to darkness.
The wins gave the U.S. a 3-1 record overall and a playoff game Wednesday against the Canadians, who have won all four matches they have played, outscoring the opposition 39-0.
“Today we got some clutch two-out hits to score runs in both games,” said Team USA co-head coach Beth Keylon-Randolph. “Jessica (Ware) has been struggling lately and she is one of our best hitters so it was nice to see her come through.”
In the suspended game against Australia, Ware cleared the bases with a two-out triple and pitcher Dana Alcocer (2-0-1) held off a late Australian rally in the bottom of the eighth.
At the games pool, American Pat Mellors broke his own games record in the 400-meter individual medley in a time of 4 minutes 12.94 seconds. The time was more than a second better than his record-setting preliminary swim earlier Monday.
American Alex Vanderkaay took the silver in 4:17.34 and bronze went to Italys Federico Turrini in 4:19.96.
“I had a big drop this morning already, so the coaches were telling me just to go out and race tonight, and not worry about time,” said Mellors. “So I came in saying that if I just win this tonight, Ill be happy. But I ended up getting more out of it, and Im just elated.”
American Adam Ritter won the 200 freestyle and Ukraine’s Sergii Breus the men’s 50 butterfly. Japan ended the American monopoly in relays, winning gold in the women’s 400-meter medley relay in a time of 4 minutes, 03.11 seconds. The Americans were second in 4:03.96 and Canada third.
Elsewhere at the games Monday, soccer players from Thailand and Mexico fought openly on the pitch in a men’s match eventually won by the home team 1-0.
In the fourth minute of extra time, a Mexican player clashed with Thai player Amarin Yaodam, and the brawl started shortly after. It was uncertain how many players were given red cards by Canadian referee Paul Ward unconfirmed reports ranged from four to six players. Organizers declined to comment and no official match statistics were available.
Television footage showed players from both teams lying on the ground after the brawl.
In men’s tennis, Danai Udomchoke claimed a week ago that he’d feel extra pressure playing in front of his home crowd at the games. The Asian Games tennis champion and top-seeded player here isn’t showing it, though, rolling to his third straight lopsided singles victory.
On Monday, he beat Indonesia’s Prima Simpatiaji 6-0, 6-1 in 39 minutes in the round of 16.
All of Danai’s wins have been in straight sets and with little difficulty. On Monday, he had only eight unforced errors to Simpatiaji’s 24, and had 14 winners to his opponent’s five.
Danai, who received a bye in the first round, has emerged as Thailand’s top tennis player while Paradorn Srichaphan the first men’s player from Asia to achieve a world top 10 ranking has been battling a career-threatening wrist injury.
The United States, represented by the University of Northern Iowa, beat China 88-51 in a men’s basketball game.
The Americans outscored China 22-6 in the final quarter. Travis Brown led the U.S. with 24 points, while Eric Coleman added 14 and Jordan Egiseder 12.
The U.S. mens volleyball team recorded a 3-0 win over Taiwan to finish play in Pool C with a 5-0 record. The U.S. won 25-19, 25-20, 25-22 to advance to the medal round likely against either Canada or the Ukraine.
Head coach Alan Knipe used a new lineup, giving the reserves more opportunity to get experience in the tournament.
“I had a lot of confidence that the guys that havent been playing a lot could win the match, and I thought they did a great job,” said Knipe. “They made a few errors early … but I thought they settled down.”
“Now our guys who have played a lot got a breather, and all of the guys have some match play under their belt,” Knipe said.
– Associated Press
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