Returning to the state that made her a household name, Chicago Bandits' pitcher Jennie Finch threw a phenominal game against the Arizona Heat in Chicago's first-ever game against an NPF opponent, winning 1-0.
Finch fired a three-hit shutout while striking out four on the night.
While the Arizona alum shut down the Heat's batters, her battery-mate provided the offense. Texas A&M alum Selena Collins belted her second home run of the year in the fifth, to give her team the 1-0 victory.
Heat pitcher Dana Sorensen pitched masterfully for five innings, making only one mistake, the home run to Collins in the fifth. That run would be all that Finch would need, retiring the last 12 Heat batters she faced.
On the night, Finch allowed three hits, three walks and struck out four. Sorensens night ended after five, allowing five hits and striking out one. She was relieved by Erica Beach, who finished off the game with two shutout innings to keep the score close.
Sorensen started the game by retiring the Bandits in order. In the bottom of the first, Lauren Bauer singled off Finch to open the game. After a fielders choice, Finch walked Jessica Mendoza, to put two runners on base for Stacey Nuveman. Nuveman, making her first appearance with the Heat grounded into a double play to end the threat. Sorensen once again cruised through the inning, while the Heat managed to get two more runners
on base. However, they would not be able to capitalize, as Finch escape unharmed.
The Bandits got something started in the third after a lead off walk by Megan Ciolli and a single by Anne Staffan. With two runners on, Vicky Galindo laid down what appeared to be a perfect sacrifice bunt. However, third baseman Toni Mascarenas fielded it, wheeled, and fired to third to get the lead runner. Sorensen retired the next two batters to get out the inning without allowing a run.
In the bottom of the inning, the Heat put two more runner on base, as Mendoza singled and Nuveman walked. However, Finch managed to get the final out and the Heat rally was thwarted once again.
Both pitchers got through the fourth without a hiccup, and the game remained scoreless going into the fifth. Selena Collins led off the inning and drove a Sorensen fastball over the center field wall to put the Bandits up 1-0. That would prove to be all that Finch would need. She went on to retire the final 12 Heat batters, on her way to a three hit
shutout. The win moved Finch to 5-0 on the season, and dropped her ERA to 0.40. Dana Sorensen took the hard luck loss and dropped to 4-3 on the season, but did drop her ERA below three.
Anne Steffan managed two of the Bandits six hits on the night, with Vicky Galindo, Liz Bouck, Gina Oaks and Collins delivering the other four.
For the Heat, only three batter managed hits, Lauren Bauer, Jessica Mendoza and Jackie Coburn. Collins homerun was the only extra-base hit of the night for either team.
The Heat and Bandits will play the second game of the series tomorrow night at 7:30 pm at Hi Corbett Field. Erica Beach and Lauren Bay are expected to get the starts for their teams.