Houston, TX-- Texas Thunder pitcher Christa Williams collected her third consecutive shut out of the season as the Thunder improved to 5-2 on the regular season with a 4-0 victory over Russia Saturday evening at Big League Dreams Sports Park in League City.
Texas Thunder centerfielder Kristen Zaleski led off the bottom of the first with a walk and then advanced to second on a past ball. Right fielder Kim Nesloney followed with a walk and second baseman Lindsay Gardner laid down the sacrifice bunt to advance the runners one base. Third baseman Clare Burnum continued to increase her RBI total as she drove in Zaleski with her first at bat on a hard ground ball to the left side of the Russian second baseman. The Thunder got on the board first and closed out the inning with a 1-0 lead.
Williams retired the next three Russian batters to collect her second and third strikeouts of the night. But the Thunder could not add to their lead as Russian pitcher Svetlana Koshukhova retired the next three hitters as well.
The game moved into the bottom of the fourth with the Thunder still ahead 1-0. Left fielder Erin Evans walked and designated hitter Julie Watson collected her first base hit of the game as she singled between the short stop and third baseman. Watson and Evans then reached third and second safely on a double steal and catcher Denise Dahlberg drove in her first RBI of the season with a fielders choice to the third baseman. Evans scored from third and the Thunder moved up 2-0. Zaleski then plated Watson on a fielders choice to the second baseman and an error by the Russian shortstop gave Nesloney an RBI as Dahlberg scored from third. The Texas Thunder added a total of three runs to their lead to close out the fourth 4-0.
Williams collected her fourth, fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game to retire the top of the fifth and the Thunder looked to threaten again with the bases loaded. With one out, pinch hitter Monica Garza laid down the squeeze bunt, but Russia got out of the inning with a one-two-three double play. Russia held off the threat and the Thunder maintained their lead with a score of 4-0.
The game moved into the sixth and neither team increased their run total to leave the score at 4-0.
Williams retired the side in the top of the seventh to give Texas the win, as well as collecting her third consecutive shut out of the season. She finished the game with eight strikeouts and the Texas Thunder improved to 5-2 in regular season play.
Texas will play their fourth and final game against the Russian National Team Sunday afternoon, June 19, at 1:00 p.m. at Big League Dreams Sports Park in League City.