ROCKFORD - Rookie starting pitcher Allison Kime (2-2) threw her first professional no-hitter in defeating the Netherlands National Team Saturday, 8-0, in the first game of Saturday’s double-header. Stephanie Best, Erin Evans and Lindsay Gardner each hit home runs for the Thunder (8-4) in what was arguably Rockford’s best game of the season so far.
The Thunder’s offense set season highs in a number of categories, including most hits (12), runs (8), home runs (3), extra-base hits (4). Kime guided Rockford to season lows in runs allowed (0), hits (0), and baserunners (3).
Rockford began the scoring in the top of the first when Evans singled and Gardner reached on an error to set Shanna Diller up for an RBI single. Gardner followed the Evans run by scoring on a passed ball by Dutch catcher Nina van Huissteden.
In the bottom of the fourth, Best led off with her third NPF homer of the year (her second as a member of the Thunder), and Netherlands coach Liz Kelly lifted starter Kristi de Vries for reliever Judith van Kampen. Later in the inning, Amanda Williams and Stephanie Fischer were driven in by singles by Beth Boden and Evans.
Rockford continued the scoring in the sixth inning. Third baseman Audrey Rendon reached first on a close-call bunt single. With Rendon aboard, Evans blasted her first home run of the year to deep center field. On the very next pitch, Gardner sent her second homer of the year deep down the left field line to bring the game to cap the game’s scoring.
Kime pitched efficiently and effectively throughout the seven innings, allowing two walks – one each to de Vries and left fielder Saskia Kosterink – and striking out seven Dutch batters, including striking out all three batters in the fourth inning. de Vries gave up two earned runs over three innings to take the loss for the Netherlands.
In game two, Rockford struggled early, giving up two runs in the top of the first, as Marloes Fellinger and Kim Kluijskens each drove runners in from third base with one out.
Offensively, the Thunder never got any runners past second base, despite getting the leadoff batter on base in three out of the seven innings. Leading Rockford's offense was Best, who went 2-for-3 with two singles and a hard-hit line-out to right field that nearly dropped in for an extra-base hit.
Cassidy Scoggins (3-2) gave up two runs and earned the hard-luck loss. Megan Brown pitched in relief for Rockford and gave up only one unearned run to lower her ERA to a league-leading 0.70.
The Thunder will take a few days of much needed rest before hitting the diamond again on Thursday, June 19 at 6:35 pm against Team Canada. More details about the game will be released shortly.