TOKYO, Japan — Team USA competed for the gold against Japan Tuesday after going undefeated in round-robin play in the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA lost against Japan Tuesday morning, earning the silver medal.
Former Lady Vol Monica Abbott earned her second career Olympic silver medal on Thursday as the United States finished runner-up at the Tokyo 2020 softball tournament.
According to Tennessee Athletics, Abbott was a dominant force for the Eagles throughout the week with a tournament-best 0.00 ERA, 31 strikeouts, three wins, and two saves for Team USA. Making two starts and four relief appearances in Tokyo, the Salinas, California, native totaled 20.1 innings pitched and limited batters to a .106 average on the Olympic stage.
She is one of two players in SEC softball history to win two Olympic medals (Kelly Kretschman, Alabama). Abbott was the youngest member of the 2008 U.S. national team that also claimed silver in Beijing, UT Athletics said. One of the most decorated players in the history of college softball, Abbott led the Lady Vols to three consecutive Women's College World Series appearances (2005-07), with a runner-up finish in 2007. She threw an astonishing 23 no-hitters and six perfect games during her Tennessee career and finished her four-year tenure on Rocky Top as the NCAA's career leader in victories (189), strikeouts (2,440), shutouts (112), and appearances (253).
Team USA is now 5-0 in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and served the talented women of Team Japan their first loss as of Sunday night, and a former Lady Vol southpaw pitcher has already put up a dominant performance on the mound as she hunts for gold in her second Olympics.
The U.S. was able to pull off a walk-off win against Japan Sunday night at Yokohama Baseball Stadium. The U.S. women and Abbott also put up solid performances against Australia and Mexico the earlier in the weekend to remain undefeated. Australia's hitters struggled to figure out how to get a hit on Abbott, who posted 13 strikeouts Saturday.
After helping take down Italy in the Olympic opener, Monica Abbott started on the mound against No. 3 Canada Wednesday -- and it was a wise decision because she was absolutely on fire.
The LVFL nearly pitched her second no-hitter in the Olympic competition, allowing only one hit in the sixth inning. That is no small feat.
“It's fun to be on the mound to watch that,” Abbott told the Associated Press after her one-hitter led the United States over Canada 1-0 on Thursday. “I don't want to give up a hit like that, but, man oh man, it took a lot of confidence in me on our defense."
Team USA is 2-0 in round robin play after beating Italy and Canada. They next take on Mexico at 1:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 24. You can watch the match's livestream on NBC Olympics or on NBC Sports Network. You may need to authenticate that you have a cable or satellite provider to view these livestreams.
Six softball teams representing the US, Japan, Canada, Italy, Mexico and Australia are competing for Olympic glory. At the end of round robin play, the top four teams will compete for medals on July 27. As of Thursday, only Team USA and Team Japan remained undefeated.
Before that first match, Abbott caught up with 10News from the Olympic Village excited as the USA Softball ladies kicked off the games.
"Not only have we not been in the Olympic Games, we're freaking kicking the Olympic Games off," she said.
She said she was most excited to watch the sport continue to grow.
"What I'm really excited to see for this team is who is going to step up in those big moments, and who's going to have an out-of-body crazy... all-out crazy Olympic experience that you tell for generations," she said.
And now the team is pumped and excited to see just how far they can go and hopefully bring home the gold medal.
"I can't wait to share this experience with the girls on this team...we need to show that joy, that excitement, that passion" she said.
In her Tokyo Olympic opener, the Associated Press reported Abbott struck out the side in the seventh for the save. She may start against Canada, part of an entire Olympics played with no fans.
“It's kind of sad that there can't be any spectators, especially no foreign spectators,” Abbott said. “This is an event that doesn't happen all the time, so it's disappointing not to have people in the stands — but also not having Japanese fans when Japan is such a softball-loving country.”
Abbott has had tremendous success internationally with 17 different championship titles, leading Team USA to four World Cup of Softball Championships, three Canada Cup titles, and gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 ISF Women's World Championships. She's also a five-time Japan Softball League Champion.
Abbott is a force to be reckoned with on the mound. In Beijing, she pitched the first-ever 5-inning perfect game in the Olympics.