Game Box Score
TUCSON, ARIZ The Arizona Heat and the Texas Thunder needs extra-innings to decide a winner tonight. The Thunder prevailed 4-3 in eight innings thanks to a two-out RBI double by Amanda Freed. Lindsay Gardner and Serena Settlemier each hit a solo homerun for the Thunder, while the Heat relied on small ball to score their three runs.
Tonights pitching match up featured a couple of NPF rookies as April Valdez and Serena Settlemier squared off. Valdez pitched seven strong innings, allowing only five hits and three runs. She did not walk a batter and fanned two. Settlemier pitched five innings, leaving with the score tied at two. She allowed two runs on eight hits while striking out two batters.
The Thunder did not waste any time getting on the board, plating one run in the top of the first. Nesloney singled and promptly stole second before scoring on Serena Settlemiers double. In the bottom of the inning, Crystal Farley delivered a one-out single before being thrown out trying to steal second. Nichole Thompson followed with a single, but was stranded on first. The Heat would threaten again in the second using a single by Kaleo Eldredge and a walk to Shelly Schultz to move a runner into scoring position with only one down. Settlemier worked her way out of it, retiring the next two hitters to end the threat.
Valdez settled into a groove of her own, retiring nine consecutive batters. The Heat got going in the third, scoring two runs on four hits. After Settlemier retired the first two hitters in the inning, Nichole Thompson got things started with a single to right. Toni Mascarenas followed with a double to right-center moving two into scoring position. Heather Scaglione and Kaleo Eldredge both followed with RBI singles to put the Heat up 2-1.
The game stayed 2-1 until the top of the fifth when Lindsay Gardner led off with a homerun over the left field fence to even the score. Settlemier and Nicole Neuerburg retired the Heat quietly in the fifth and sixth innings. For the Heat, Valdez quickly retired the next six Thunder batters to move into the seventh inning still tied 2-2.
After being replaced on the mound, Settlemier remained in the game to hit, and led off the seventh with a solo homerun to left field. Valdez finished the inning and the game moved to the bottom of the ninth with the Thunder leading 3-2.
Thunder ace Christa Williams came in to slam the door, but the Heat had other ideas. After striking out the first batter of the inning, Williams looked to be on her way to picking up the save. However, a strike three passed ball allowed LaDonia Hughes to reach first. Farley followed with a bunt single and the Heat had two on with only one down. After a fielders choice brought the Heat to their final out, Toni Mascarenas singled on a 3-2 pitch to plate Farley and even the score.
Celena Velasquez came on to pitch in the eighth and let up a lead-off walk to Rocky Spencer. Kristen Zaleski sacrificed her to second and a long fly ball to center by Kim Nesloney moved her to third. Amanda Freed then ripped a two-out double off the wall in left to give the Thunder a 4-3 lead.
The Heat would put together another rally in the eighth, but it would ultimately fall short. Williams hit Eldredge to lead-off the inning, and with one down she was sacrificed to second. Jen Martinez came in to pinch hit, but Williams got her swinging to end the game.
Nicole Thompson was the hitting star for the Heat, going three for four with a run scored. Toni Mascarenas, Crystal Farley and Kaleo Eldredge each added two hits in the contest. Heather Scaglione finished one for four with an RBI.
The Thunder got two hits, including solo homeruns from both Serena Settlemier and Lindsay Gardner.
The Heat and Thunder will play the second game of the series tomorrow night at Hi Corbett Field at 7:30 pm.
Contact: Scott Kimmelman, Media Relations, Arizona Heat
520.296.9595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org