Team USA completes 24-game tour unbeaten

Updated: March 28, 2004, 9:52 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Lisa Fernandez, starting for the U.S. Olympic softball team in the final game of its "Aiming for Athens" collegiate tour, allowed one hit and struck out six in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-0 victory over UCLA on Sunday.

The U.S. team, which won all 24 games -- most of them handily -- on the tour, now heads to Italy for a string of games in April.

"It was really nerve racking," said Fernandez, 33, a volunteer UCLA coach and one of five former Bruins on the U.S. roster.

"When I coach, I pour my heart into it, and to be able to see them grow and then to go against them, it's a difficult thing because you know somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose, so you're torn."

Fernandez came within two outs of a no-hitter in the five-inning game, but Emily Zaplatosch bounced a grounder into the hole on the left side of the infield and beat Natasha Watley's throw to first for UCLA's lone hit.

The United States scored eight of its runs in the third inning, with Kelly Kretchman hitting a grand slam off UCLA starter Keira Goerl. Fernandez also had a good day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press