TUCSON, ARIZ The Arizona Heat and the Texas Thunder played their third consecutive nail biter tonight, with the Heat prevailing 3-0. Dana Sorensen once again out dueled Christa Williams to pick up her second complete game shutout win of the series. Toni Mascarenass second inning homerun would prove to be all the offense the Heat would need.
Thursdays starters, Dana Sorensen and Christa Williams were back at it again tonight with neither pitcher having their best stuff. Sorensen allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out eight Thunder on the evening. She pitcher her way into and out of jams all night, getting the Thunder to leave eleven runners on base. Sorensen twice got out of bases loaded situations without allowing anyone to score. Williams only allowed an unearned run on Thursday, but tonight the Heat touched her for three runs. She allowed eight hits, three walks and struck out three.
The Thunder got a threat going from the start, loading the bases in the first inning. Julie Watson drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Kristen Zaleski. After striking out Amanda Freed a walk to Clare Burnum loaded the bases. With the bags full and two outs, Sorensen got Lindsay Gardner looking to end the inning.
Williams retired the Heat in order in the first and Sorensen got the Thunder to go down quietly in the second. With the game scoreless in the second, Toni Mascarenas got to Williams by taking the 1-0 pitch over the left field wall to put the Heat up 1-0. The Heat would threaten again in the inning, loading the bases with one out, but failed to push another runner across the plate.
The Thunder had another opportunity in the third, getting a runner into scoring position with only one down. However, Sorensen got Zaleski to line out and struck out Freed to end the inning. In the fourth, the Thunder had another golden opportunity to tie the game. Lindsay Gardner singled and Karrie Rider reached on an error two put two runners on with only one down. Sorensen got Denise Dahlberg looking and induced a weak fly ball from Adrian Gregory to end the inning.
The game moved to the bottom of the fifth with the Heat still leading 1-0, but looking for some insurance runs. Lauren Bauer led off with a single to left and promptly stole second base. Cheryl Schaefer drew a walk to put runners on first and second. Nichole Thompson laid down a perfect bunt single that was thrown into right field allowing Bauer to come around and score. With runners on the corners, Stacey Nuveman delivered an RBI single to stretch the Heat lead to 3-0. Toni Mascarenas followed with a single to right field, but a perfect throw from Watson nailed Thompson at the plate for the first out of the inning. Williams got out of the inning after Tairia Flowers lined into a double play.
Down by three, the Thunder would not go away easily. Amanda Freed and Clare Burnum led the inning off with back-to-back singles. After retiring Lindsay Gardner a walk to Karrie Rider loaded the bases with only one out. Sorensen got pinch hitter Erin Evans to pop out to shortstop and Adrian Gregory to hit into a fielders choice to escape once again. The seventh was more of the same. Sorensen retired the first two batters, but singles by Zaleski and Freed brought the tying run up to the plate. Clare Burnum chased the first pitch and flew out to left field to end the game.
Toni Mascarenas was the hitting star for the Heat, finishing two for three with a homerun. Tairia Flowers also had two hits, and Stacey Nuveman accounted for the other Heat RBI. Nuveman extended her hitting streak to eight games. Cheryl Schaefer finished zero for two with a run and a walk, but saw her ten game hitting streak come to an end.
Kristen Zaleski and Amanda Freed had two hits apiece for the Thunder. The multi-hit game was Zaleskis second in as many days.
The Heat and Thunder will play the final game of the series tomorrow night at Hi Corbett Field at 7:30 pm.