Cat Osterman strikes out nine as USA beat Italy 2-0 in softball opener

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 21: Pitcher Catherine Osterman #38 of Team United States reacts in the second inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)
FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN - JULY 21: Pitcher Catherine Osterman #38 of Team United States reacts in the second inning against Team Italy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium on July 21, 2021 in Fukushima, Japan. (Photo by Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

The legendary pitcher returned to the Olympic stage in style, 13 years after her last appearance at the Games 

Cat Osterman dominated as the United States began their quest to regain the Olympic softball gold medal, 13 years after she lost the championship game, pitching one-hit ball over six innings and striking out nine to beat Italy 2-0 on Wednesday.

Michelle Moultrie singled in a run in the fourth inning for the top-ranked U.S., who lost the title to Japan 3-1 at the 2008 Beijing Games. Janie Reed, the wife of Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jake Reed, added a sacrifice fly.

Osterman, a 38-year-old left-hander, walked none on a humid afternoon with a 94-degree temperature that was even more steamy on the artificial turf. The last remaining player from the 2004 gold medallists, she improved to 6-1 in Olympic play with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings.

In the second game of the tournament, Andrea Filler had Italy's only hit, singling to left leading off the fourth.

Monica Abbott, a 35-year-old lefty who is the other U.S. veteran from 2008, struck out the side in the seventh for the save.

Greta Cecchetti, a pitcher for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, allowed two runs and four hits in four-plus innings.

Valerie Arioto led off the fourth with an infield hit up the middle, beating the throw from second baseman Andrea Filler. Ali Aguilar sacrificed, and Moultrie grounded a single on the hard artificial turf and past Filler and into right field, sending Arioto sliding across the plate.

Alexia Lacatena, an 18-year-old from Stanhope, New Jersey, who will pitch for the University of Kentucky next spring, relieved and allowed a sacrifice fly to Reed, whose husband made his debut on July 6 and had six appearances before he was optioned Tuesday to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

READ MORE I Cat Osterman: A USA legend returns to the circle

The Associated Press contributed to this report