TUCSON, ARIZ The US National Team proved too much for the Arizona Heat to handle, winning the series opener 17-1. The Heat hung tough through three innings before Team USA pulled away. Tairia Flowers, a Tucson native, blasted two homeruns including what proved to be the go ahead runs.
Desiree Serrano and Alicia Hollowell started the game in the circle for their respective teams. Serrano started off strong, allowing only one run through three and two-thirds innings. However, she could not hold Team USA down forever. Serrano (4-3) took the loss, allowing nine runs seven earned before being removed in the sixth. Celena Velasquez and April Valdez came on in relief to finish out the game for the Heat. Hollowell cruised through four innings, surrendering only one run on two hits and striking out five. Cat Osterman and Jennie Finch closed out the game for Team USA with three combined scoreless innings in relief.
The Heat were the first to threaten to score after a lead-off double by Kaleo Eldredge. Crystal Farley sacrificed her over to third, but the Heat were unable to bring her in. Team USA got on the board in the top of the third. Andrea Duran roped a one out triple and came around to score on a RBI single by Lovie Jung.
Arizona got on the board in the bottom of the third, knotting the game at one run apiece. In her first at-bat as a member of the Heat, Autumn Champion reached after getting hit with a pitch. She prompty stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Farley then laced a two-out single up the middle to score the tying run.
The game would not remain tied for long as Flowers belted a two-run homerun over the leftfield fence. Team USA would add three more in the fifth on three singles and an error. The top of the sixth was much of the same, with the US National Team adding seven more runs and pushing the score to 13-1. Flowers led off the inning with a solo homerun and Jessica Mendozas three run triple accounted for most of the damage. Mendoza added a RBI double and Stacey Nuveman added a three-run homerun in the seventh to close out the scoring.
Kaleo Eldredge, Crystal Farley and Catalina Morris accounted for the three Heat hits on the evening. Morris, playing in her first professional game, picked up a single in the seventh for her first career hit. Autumn Champion, also playing in her first pro game stole a base and scored a run.
Team USAs offense was paced by three players with four RBIs apiece. Tairia Flowers, Stacey Nuveman and Jessica Mendoza all picked up four RBIs. Flowers smashed a pair of homeruns and Nuveman added a three-run shot in the seventh. All nine Team USA starters picked up at least one hit and scored at least one run.
The Heat and Team USA will square off again tomorrow for a doubleheader starting at 6 pm at Hi Corbett Field.
Contact: Scott Kimmelman, Media Relations, Arizona Heat