The Arizona Heat won again, but this time, the pitching was the headline in a 7-0 win over the Phoenix Flames. Erica Beach hurled a two-hit shutout, striking out eight in a dominating pitching debut this season.
Beach, one of three returning Heat players from the 2004 season, did not walk a batter, and if not for a line drive that grazed off Lauren Bauers glove, may have taken a perfect game into the seventh. The Heat offense was paced by Jessica Mendoza. The leftfielder was not available for yesterdays game, but got the start tonight and went three for four with three RBI in her National Pro Fastpitch debut. Ladonia Hughes, the only Heat starter without a hit yesterday, responded today with two hits, two stolen bases, and a run scored. She also made a diving catch in center field to end the bottom of the first.
Beach was untouchable from the start, throwing 4.2 innings of perfect softball before Felicity Willis singled to right. Beach then retired the next six, before her ex-Heat teammate, Becky Turi singled with two outs in the seventh. Beach has been a dual threat for the Heat in the first two games of the season, going three for three yesterday, and throwing a complete-game shutout tonight.
The Heat did not waste any time scoring on Friday, plating two in the bottom of the first. In her first at-bat, Jessica Mendoza singled in Nichole Thompson to give the Heat a 1-0 lead that they would not give up. Mendoza notched two more hits before the night was over, including an RBI double in the third.
Tara Knudsen continued her hot hitting, with two more hits; one of which hit off the top of the fence in right center. Lauren Bauer followed up her five for five performance with a double and a RBI in four at-bats.
The Heat and Flames will face off again tomorrow at 7:30 pm for the third game of this four game series.