TUCSON, ARIZ The Arizona Heat pulled off a win in the opening game of the series against the Texas Thunder with a 1-0 lead. Dana Sorensen out-dueled Thunder ace Christa Williams by hurling a two-hit shutout while striking out two. The Heat pushed across the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a ground ball that bounced off second baseman Lindsay Gardner and into leftfield.
Dana Sorensen picked up her sixth win of the season, allowing only three base runners. It was her second complete game shutout of the season. Christa Williams went the distance for Thunder, allowing only six hits and an unearned run while striking out three. With the loss, she fell to 16-4 on the season.
With both pitchers retiring batter after batter and the defense playing flawlessly, neither team could get any runners across the plate. The Heat had the first opportunity of the game, getting a runner into scoring position in the bottom of the second. Jackie Coburn singled and was sacrificed to second by Tairia Flowers. Williams got Lovie Jung to strike-out swinging to end the inning.
The Thunder got their first base runner in the third on a check swing single, but could not advance the runner.
The Heat threatened again in the third, getting two runners into scoring position with one out. Ladonia Hughes reached on a single and promptly stole second before Lauren Bauer singled her over to third. Bauer stole second and the Heat were knocking on the door. Nichole Thompson hit a fly ball to leftfield that looked like it would score Hughes from third. However, Kim Nelsoney caught the ball and fired home, nailing Hughes at the plate.
Sorensen continued to mow the Thunder hitters down, retiring fourteen hitters in a row after the third inning single.
The game moved into the sixth still scoreless. Sorensen got the Thunder out in order in the top of the inning. The Heat bats got going again in the bottom of the inning. With one down in the inning, Nichole Thompson singled to right field. Toni Mascarenas sacrificed her to second. Williams walked Stacey Nuveman to put two runners on base and bring up Jackie Coburn. Coburn fell behind 0-2 before hitting a ground ball to second base. Lindsay Gardner moved over to field the grounder, but let the ball carom off her foot into left field. The error allowed Thompson to come around to score and give the Heat a 1-0 lead.
The Thunder battled in the seventh, refusing to go down easily. After retiring the first two batters, Sorensen gave up a single to Kristen Zaleski. Zaleski stole second and Amanda Freed drew a walk to put two runners on. Zaleski was the first runner to get past first base all night. With two on and two out, Sorensen got Clare Burnum to ground out to second base and end the game.
The Heat finished with six hits on the night. Bauer, Thompson, Nuveman, Coburn, Schaefer and Hughes each accounted for one. Hughes and Bauer each recorded a stole base and Nichole Thompson scored the only run of the game.
The Thunder only managed two hits, coming off the bats of Zaleski and Karrie Rider.
The two teams will face off again on Friday night at 7:30 at Hi Corbett Field.