Veteran pitcher Cat Osterman brought her A-game again as the United States moved to 3-0 in pool play with a 2-0 defeat of Mexico on Saturday.
Osterman allowed just one hit and struck out four in six innings of work. She struck out nine in the tournament-opening 2-0 defeat of Italy and, not to be outdone, Monica Abbott tossed a one-hitter the following day as Team USA beat Canada 1-0.
Abbott was called upon in the seventh versus Italy and again entered the fray for the final inning Saturday, striking out the side.
The U.S. plays Australia on Saturday and Japan on Sunday. Winning both of those games will put the Americans in the gold medal game.
Dallas Escobedo went two innings for Mexico but left with two runners aboard in the third. Danielle O’Toole got two quick outs but allowed a two-run single to Ali Aguilar.
Team USA had two on base again in the sixth thanks to a pair of Mexico errors but O’Toole induced a pair of grounders and the second was fired home to stop the Americans from taking a three-run lead.
That’s when Mexico inserted Sierra Hyland, and this time the two-out pitcher swap was successful.
Mexico put a runner on base to start the seventh but Abbott struck out the side to preserve the shutout.
Abbott and Osterman were both part of the team that won silver in 2008, the last time softball was an Olympic event. Osterman was a member of the gold medal-winning 2004 American team.