HOUSTON, Texas Behind the solid pitching of former Olympian Christa Williams, the Texas Thunder needed just one run in tonights game against the visiting Arizona Heat to secure the win and the series sweep by a final score of 1-0.
Williams, who is now 11-5 on the season, allowed just two hits on the evening to the Heat while striking out eight. The win also lowered her ERA to 0.78, which trails only teammate Peaches James (0.67) and the Juggernauts Amanda Scott (0.75).
The two hits allowed by Williams came on singles in the top half of the first inning by leadoff hitter Jodi Otten (1-for-2, HBP) and the third place hitter Tamara Ivie (1-for-3), but the rally was quickly halted when Ivie was caught in a rundown on an apparent missed signal from Heat Manager Debby Day.
Texas scored the only run of the game in the third inning when Lindsay Gardner (2-for-3) drilled a double down leftfield line to score Thunder leftfielder Erin Evans (1-for-2). Evans opened the inning by bunting for a single to leadoff the inning and then she got herself into scoring position by stealing second base.
The two hits in the inning for the Thunder was all the team would need to score the game-winning run off of Heat starter Mo Triner, who was just as effective as Williams in the pitchers duel. Triner allowed just three hits and one walk in the game, but the loss drops her season record to 3-11 on the season.
With the loss the Heat currently sit 3.5 games behind the New England Riptide for the final playoff spot in the 2004 playoffs. The Riptide dropped two out of three games to the California Sunbirds, including a 2-0 decision on Friday night in Stockton, Calif.
The Heat will begin a pivotal series with the fourth place Riptide on Sunday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 p.m. PDT. The two teams will also play games on Monday and Tuesday night with each game scheduled for 7:35 p.m. PDT.
For information on the Heat or for ticket information, visit the official team website at www.tucsonsoftball.com or call 520-296-9595. Tickets for the Heat are available for purchase at the Hi Corbett Field Box Office and can be purchased for $3-11.
National Pro Fastpitch is the only professional womens fastpitch league in the United States. The league is headquartered in Denver, and has been in operation since 1997 under the names Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Professional Softball League (WPSL).