Kimbrell, Hudek lead U.S. in win over Canada for Pan Am gold in women's baseball

AJAX, Ont. — Anna Kimbrell hit a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to open up a close game and lead the United States to an 11-3 victory over Canada on Sunday in the women's baseball final at the Pan American Games.

Kimbrell's double off Canadian reliever Jessica Berube came with two outs in the frame and restored a five-run lead for the U.S., one inning after Canada had clawed back to score three.

American starting pitcher Sarah Hudek, who hit in the clean-up spot, also drove in three. Michelle Snyder had two runs batted in and Samantha Cobb and Jenna Marston added an RBI apiece.

Hudek gave up three runs on four hits while walking five and striking out two over 3 1/3 innings. Stacy Piagno pitched 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball the rest of the way.

Jenna Flannigan, Kelsey Lalor and Amanda Asay had RBIs for Canada.

Right-hander Vanessa Riopel of Repentigny, Que., lasted just 1/3 of an inning, giving up four runs on three hits, one walk and one hit batter. Left-hander Claire Eccles, a 17-year-old from Surrey, B.C., was charged with the three U.S. runs in the fifth.

It didn't take long for the U.S. to get on the board.

Hudek hit a two-run single in the first inning and Marston added an RBI base hit one batter later for a 3-0 lead that ended Riopel's outing. The U.S. tacked on another run on an error to Canadian shortstop Bradi Wall.

Snyder's two-out single off Asay in the third scored Marston, who reached on a triple.

Canada scored three runs in the fourth inning to get back into the game.

Becky Hartley led off the frame with a single off Hudek and score on Flannigan's double. Piagno then walked Asay with the bases loaded to bring in another run and a ground out from Lalor scored Wall from third to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Hudek hit an RBI triple off Melissa Armstrong in the sixth inning and scored on Cobb's single to make it 10-3. Snyder drove in the 11th U.S. run with a double.

NOTES: Canada lost its designated hitter when it replaced P Riopel with DH Asay in the first inning. ... Hudek signed with Bossier City Community College in February to play men's baseball. BCCC is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The Canadian Press