EDMONTON, Alberta -- The USA Baseball Women's National Team couldn't overcome a four-run fourth inning by Venezuela as it fell 5-1 in the final pool play game of the World Cup.
The loss pushes Team USA to 5-2 after pool play and locks it into the No. 2 seed vs. No. 3 seed game of the medal rounds beginning Saturday. The opponent will be determined by the loser of tonight's Canada vs. Japan contest. Should Japan lose, the U.S. will be the two-seed by virtue of its 5-2 win over Japan. If Canada loses, the U.S. will be the tournament's three-seed as Canada will finish pool play with a 6-1 record.
The U.S. jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Caitlin Everett worked a walk and stole second with one out. She was standing on third base with two outs when Tamara Holmes dumped a single into right center, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Venezuela took advantage of a hit batter and three walks to take a lead it would never relinquish. A two-out bases loaded walk to Lelis Gomez tied the game at one and Ofelia Arrieche cleared the bases for a 4-1 lead.
Team USA saw a golden opportunity to get back in the game go by the wayside in the top of the sixth inning as it stranded a pair of runners in scoring position. With one out, Kayla Bufardeci was hit by a pitch. Holmes followed with a double to deep left center, moving Bufardeci to third base. A lunging snag by second baseman Yusneir Rodriguez on a line drive from Malaika Underwood saved a pair of runs. Venezuela starting pitcher Kerlys Perez got a strike out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, Venezuela added a run, opening up a four-run cushion, 5-1. A lead-off walk to Daniela Daniel proved costly as she scored on a two-out base hit off the bat of Rodriguez.
Kayla Bufardeci started for the U.S. and allowed one hit in her two innings of work. Ashley Sujkowski gave up two hits in an inning. Clarissa Navarro (0-1) was tagged for three runs on a hit batter and two walks in 2/3 of an inning. Alexa Maldonado gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings pitched, while Bessie Noll was touched for a run in one inning.