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U.S. blasts Taiwan

Four games. Four starting pitchers. All with the same result _ victories for the powerful U.S. team.

On Wednesday, it was Lori Harrigan's turn. The 6-foot-1 left-hander scattered two hits and Sheila Cornell hit a two-run homer as the Americans beat Taiwan 4-0.

Harrigan, who grew up in Anaheim, Calif., and starred at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, struck out five and didn't walk anyone.

"I would have liked more strikeouts, but you're never going to be satisfied with the way you're throwing, especially with the way a lot of pitchers are on this team," said Harrigan, 25.

The U.S. pitchers have been dominant in the first Olympic softball competition. Harrigan, Michele Granger, Christa Williams and Michele Smith have allowed only one run as the Americans (4-0) have outscored opponents 29-1.

Against Taiwan, No. 1 pitcher Lisa Fernandez started at third base with a slight right ankle sprain. She drove in the first run in the first inning with a single, then left in the third to rest her ankle.

The Americans made it 2-0 in the second on a double by Smith, a single by Laura Berg and a sacrifice fly by Shelly Stokes.

Cornell homered to leftfield in the third inning. It was her second homer in three games and gave her a team-leading six RBI.

The United States has hit six home runs and is the only team left without a loss in round-robin play with three games remaining. The semifinals are Monday.

Fernandez sprained her ankle in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Japan. She had been set to pitch tonight against Canada, but the injury will put that off a day or two. Granger will start against Canada.

In other action Wednesday, China (3-1) beat Puerto Rico (1-3) 10-0 in five innings under the 10-run mercy rule, and Australia (2-2) beat the Netherlands (0-4) 1-0. Japan (3-1) defeated Canada 4-0. Canada fell to 2-2.

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