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STANFORD, Calif. - More Stanford athletes moved on in their hunts for gold on Day 15 of the competition at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Jessica Mendoza `02, Lauren Lappin `06, and USA assistant coach John Rittman earned a berth into the Olympic final with a 4-1 victory over Japan, while former Stanford men's volleyball players Gabe Gardner `00 and Kevin Hansen `04 helped the U.S. into the semifinal round with a 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12) victory over Serbia.
Snapshots of the Stanford athletes' performances...
In Baseball action...
Team USA won its fourth straight game to wrap up preliminary round play, scoring four runs in the top of the 11th inning for a 4-2 victory over Japan. The Americans (5-2) will now face Cuba (6-1) this Friday night at 6:00pm in Beijing (3:00am PT) in the second of two Olympic semifinals. Japan (4-3) will square off with Korea (7-0) in the first semifinal, with the two winners meeting for the gold on Saturday and the two losers playing that same day for the bronze.
With both Team USA and Japan already assured of a semifinal spot, this
game between two baseball superpowers was essentially meaningless.
Both clubs used the contest as a way to get work in for their pitchers, and the result was a scoreless tie through 10 innings. At that point, the game reverted to Olympic extra-inning rules in the 11th and both clubs were able to start the frame with runners at first and second and nobody out. Three consecutive singles gave Team USA a 3-0 lead, and Stanford's John Gall '00 drove in the fourth run with an RBI-groundout. Japan plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the 11th, but Team USA held on for the victory to end pool play on a four-game winning streak.
Friday's semifinal match with Cuba will give Team USA a chance to avenge one of its 2008 Olympic losses, a 5-4, 11-inning defeat in the third game.
In Softball action...
For the first time in the 2008 Games, Jessica Mendoza '02, Lauren Lappin '06, coach John Rittman and the rest of Team USA were challenged, but the squad came out on top in a nine-inning battle with Japan, 4-1, to advance to the gold medal game.
After eight scoreless innings, Caitlin Lowe broke the tie with an RBI single and Crystl Bustos ripped a three-run homerun to break the game open. Mendoza drew a walk in the ninth, and scored what proved to be the game-winning run on Bustos' long ball. Lappin did not appear in the contest.
Team USA advances to play for its fourth consecutive gold medal, taking on either Japan, Australia or Canada on Thursday. The gold medal game is set for 3 a.m. (PT) Thursday morning.
In Track & Field action...
Competing in the heats of the 5,000 meters, Ian Dobson ran a time of
14:05.47 and did not qualify for the final. Dobson, running in the second heat, saw the race go ot slowly with Farah Mohamed of Great Britain taking the leaders through 3,000 meters in just 8:40.02. From their, the pace picked up with Dobson unable to stay with the leaders to finish in ninth place, ending his first Olympic Games.
In Men's Volleyball action...
The United States outlasted Serbia, 20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12 in a quarterfinal match Wednesday in Beijing.
Gabe Gardner '00 and Kevin Hansen '04 did not play for the U.S., but watched an action-packed match that was even throughout. When the score was 9-9 in the fifth-set tiebreaker, the teams were even on total points, 100-100.
The U.S., ranked No. 3 in the world, advances to Friday's semifinals against No. 2 Russia, which beat Bulgaria, 3-1.
No. 1 Brazil, the defending champion, plays No. 10 Italy in the other semifinal.
In Wrestling action...
Matt Gentry '05 became the first male Stanford wrestler to compete in the Olympic Games, wrestling for Canada at 74 kg freestyle. Gentry drew a bye in the qualifications to advance to the round of 16, where, despite winning the first period, he fell to Emzarios Bentinidis of Greece, 0-1, 2-0, 2-0.