TUCSON, Ariz. After sweeping the Riptide in the first three games of the season, the Juggernaut (4-0) traveled all day on Saturday to Tucson to take on the Arizona Heat (1-3) in the first of a three-game series. The Juggernaut extended their winning streak to four by taking the first game of the series, 5-4, in a late-inning defensive battle.
The Juggernaut combined for 13 hits behind winning pitcher, Gina Oaks (2-0) who went four innings and gave up one earned run on three hits. Amanda Scott (1-0, 1) recorded her first save of the season, pitching three scoreless innings to carry the Juggernaut to victory. The Juggernaut shaky defense was held steady by third baseman and Player of the Game, Jaclyn Pasquerella. Pasquerella finished the day going 3-for-3 with 2 RBI, one run and a stolen base.
The scoring started in the second inning where Erika Hanson (2-for-4) tripled down the right field line with one out. Pasquerella then singled to left field scoring Hanson for the first run of the game. Pasquerella advanced on a fielders choice before scoring on a Carri Leto single. Leto continued her hot streak at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one RBI.
The Juggernaut gave back the lead in the bottom of the second by committing two errors and giving up two unearned runs on only one hit.
Then in the top of the third, Kellie Wilkerson and Lindsey Collins hit back-to-back doubles to regain the lead. Wilkerson ended the day going 2-for-4 with one run scored and Collins was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Heat added one more unearned run in the bottom of the third on an error by Oaks to tie the game 3-3. Then in the bottom of the fourth, the Heat took their first lead of the game on an RBI triple by Wendy Allen after a walk by Gina Oaks. The Juggernaut fought back in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by shortstop Lyndsey Klein, which proved to be the eventual game winner for the Nauts.
After committing four errors in the first five innings of play, the Juggernaut relied on their strong defense to break away with a win from the Heat. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the clean up hitter, Tarrah Beyster (0-for-4), came to the plate for the Heat with two runners on base. She ripped a ball down the third base line only to be scooped up by Pasquerella, who ended the game on a force out at third base.
Click here to view BOX SCORE
Photo of Jaclyn Pasquerella (NY/NJ Juggernaut), courtesy of David Saffran