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U.S. pounds South Africa at softball worlds

Three American pitchers combine for no-hitter; Japan blanks Canada in another of day's contests

AP, Staff Report

Kristi Merritt and Sahvanna Jaquish homered as the United States beat South Africa 7-0 in five innings to remain undefeated at the Women’s Softball World Championship on Tuesday.

Merritt hit a three-run homer in the second inning to give the defending champions a 4-0 lead, and Jaquish added a two-run shot in the fourth.

Rachel Garcia, Keilani Ricketts, and Kelly Barnhill combined to pitch a no-hitter, with a total of 14 strikeouts as the United States improved to 6-0 and secured one of the two top spots in Group A.

Puerto Rico defeated New Zealand 4-1 and also improved to 6-0, in a championship that also doubles as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The United States will play Puerto Rico on Wednesday with first place in the group at stake.

In Group B, Japan improved to 6-0 by beating Canada 2-0 in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture. Starter Yukiko Ueno tossed seven innings of four-hit ball, striking out five. Misato Kawano went 2-for-3 and scored a run, while Yu Yamamoto was 1-for-2. Yuka Ichiguchi stole two bases and also scored.