EDMONTON, Alberta -- Australia scored four runs in the fourth and never looked back en route to a 10-5 victory over the USA Baseball Women's National Team Wednesday in an exhibition game.
The U.S. jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after two innings. In the first, Natalie Land took a pitch off the back and moved to second on a Jill Barrett sacrifice. She was standing on third after a stolen base for Michelle Snyder, who hit a sacrifice fly to put Team USA up 1-0.
An error by the Australians in the second inning proved costly as the U.S. turned the miscue into a run. Alexa Maldonado was hit by the pitch with one out. A dropped ball in center field on a line drive off the bat of Caitlin Everett allowed Maldonado to score from first for a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Australia took advantage of two errors and two walks to take its first lead of the afternoon. With one out and the bases loaded, Kim McMillan hit a fly ball to deep left field, clearing the bases and putting Australia up 3-2.
The Red, White and Blue wasted no time tying the game and regaining the lead as it pushed across two runs in the bottom of the frame. Barrett worked a lead off walk and moved to third on a double off the bat of Snyder. Malaika Underwood followed with a double to tie the game at three. Mackenzie Vandergeest made it 4-3 with a sacrifice fly to left.
Five walks and two hit batters in the fourth put the Australians back in front as it scored four times on just one hit. Team USA looked like it might wiggle off the hook after loading the bases with nobody out. Shae Lillywhite lined into a double play to leave runners on the corners with two out.
Following the double play, the Australians worked back-to-back walks, tying the game at four. A hit batter gave Australia a 5-4 lead. Two more bases loaded walks pushed the Australian lead to 7-4 before a ground ball ended the inning.
Another three-run top of the seventh for the Australians put the game out of reach as it opened up a 10-4 lead. The U.S. pushed across a run in the seventh on a bases loaded single from Maldonado to account for the final score.
Anna Kimbrell was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on one hit and five walks. Kristin Caldwell (1 IP, 1 H) and Kayla Bufardeci (1 IP, 2 H) had strong outings, while Stacy Piagno retired all four batters she faced.
Team USA will face off against Canada Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. (ET) in its final contest before the IBAF World Cup begins on Friday.