Danielle O’Toole pitched a complete game in her Olympic debut but Japan outlasted Mexico 3-2 in eight innings as the teams continued round-robin play on Thursday at Fukushima Azuma Stadium.
The former Arizona ace allowed only five hits in an efficient effort. O’Toole recorded 22 outs on just 91 pitches. She had two strikeouts and did not issue any walks or hit any batters.
Japan, the No. 2 team in the world, scored via a solo homer in the second, an RBI double in the fifth and a bunt in the eighth.
Former Utah shortstop Anissa Urtez came up with two clutch hits for Mexico, launching a game-tying solo homer in the fifth and a game-tying RBI single in the seventh that clanked off the center fielder’s glove.
Mexico loaded the bases in the eighth but failed to plate the go-ahead run.
A groundout followed by a well-placed bunt walked it off for Japan in the bottom half of the frame. (The international tiebreaker rule, which places a runner on second base to begin extra innings, was in effect.)
Despite the loss, O’Toole said her Olympic debut was “exciting!”
“First inning I was so nervous but that’s how I always am. As soon as I got that first out it was back to normal,” she said via text. “I think as a team we bounced back and in a big way. For us to get 2 runs off one of the best to ever do it (Yukiko Ueno) is pretty cool. It’s an unfortunate loss, but just makes us better. It was fun with (Brittany) Cervantes behind the plate today. And I know that our performance today made our country and our families proud. The first time ever for Mexico (softball in the Olympics). Personally, I was in the zone today and I attribute that to my preparation and where I come from. From a team stand point we still have the opportunity to win some games so that’s our next focus.”
Mexico (0-2) returns to action on Friday night against Team USA. First pitch is scheduled for 10:30 p.m. PT on NBCSN.
Other Arizona softball happenings at the Olympics...
- Former UA ace Taylor McQuillin pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief in Mexico’s 4-0 loss to Canada on Tuesday night.
- Team USA is 2-0 with a 2-0 win over Italy and a 1-0 win over Canada. Former UA catcher Dejah Mulipola has not played yet.
- Italy is 0-2. UA sophomore Giulia Koutsoyanopulos, normally a first baseman, has started in center field. She had a single in a 1-0 loss to Australia and a sweet diving catch in the loss to Team USA.