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U.S. extends non-Olympic streak to 164

7/14/2004

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Stacey Nuveman hit a tiebreaking two-run
homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the U.S. Olympic
softball team rally from a three-run deficit to beat a team of
All-Stars from the National Pro Fastpitch league 5-3 Tuesday.

The game was the second of a doubleheader, and the United States
extended its winning streak in non-Olympic games to 164.

With the Athens Games a month away, coach Mike Candrea welcomed
the close call.

``I think sometimes it kind of puts a team in a mind-set of red
alert instead of cruising through everything,'' Candrea said.
``We've got to spend some quality time the two weeks that we're in
Athens trying to prepare.''

Crystl Bustos hit a two-run home run in the sixth and Leah
O'Brien-Amico tied it in the seventh with a bloop single after
back-to-back errors by the NPF All-Stars as the Olympic team
rallied from a 3-0 deficit.

U.S. starter Jennie Finch avoided her first loss since the
Women's College World Series final in 2002 _ played on the same
field at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.

Cat Osterman pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings in relief before
Nuveman's homer off Peaches James.

``We haven't been tested all that much as this tour has
progressed,'' Nuveman said. ``We come out tonight and get behind
three runs and have to find a way to get some runs back on the
board get back in the ballgame. It's a boost for us and a good
learning experience as we head into Athens.''

Before Tuesday, the United States hadn't given up a run in a
month and hadn't given up more than one in 40 games since March. It
was the first extra-inning game on the team's cross-country tour.

In the first game, Lisa Fernandez and Jessica Mendoza each drove
in two runs and Fernandez pitched a two-hitter as the Olympians
beat another team of NPF All-Stars 5-0.