Finch and Harrigan no-hit HeartsFinch and Harrigan no-hit Hearts
NORMAL, IL – U.S pitchers Jennie Finch (La Mirada, CA) and Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, NV) tossed the eighth no-hitter of the ‘Aiming for Athens’ tour on Wednesday night in Normal, IL as the U.S. improved to 42-0 in tour action. A record crowd for the tour thus far, 4,350 fans packed Champion Field as the U.S. captured an 8-0 decision against the Bloomington Lady Hearts. This marks the seventh no-hit performance of eight that Finch has been a part of as she totaled 14 strikeouts, completed six innings and improved to 13-0 on the tour.
“Tonight I was just really in a groove,” Finch said. “The crowd was great, along with the atmosphere and my teammates really helped out at the plate. My pitches were working well along with my rhythm.”
Taking a 1-0 jump in the bottom the first, lead off lefty Natasha Watley (Irvine, CA) tallied infield base hit before her speed advanced her to second for her 17th stolen base of the tour. Followed by two outs, catcher Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, CA) wouldn’t leave Watley stranded connecting on a 2-2 pitch for a single through the right side to score the first U.S. run.
The U.S. manufactured another run in the third for a 2-0 lead after Watley advanced on a walk later heading to third thanks to a Leah Amico (Chino Hills, CA) single back to the pitcher. Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, CA) then plated Watley with a ground out RBI, her 71st of the tour.
Six runs in the fourth off of six hits, five of which were for extra bases, secured the U.S. victory. Lovieanne Jung (Fountain Valley, CA) drove a double to centerfield to jump start things before Amanda Freed (Cypress, CA) also smacked a double down the left field line scoring Jung. The bats were hot as Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, CA) then connected on her first triple of the tour driving home Freed before Amico, who was 2-for-4, also nabbed a double adding two runs to the board. The final seventh and eighth runs came from power hitter Bustos who drove the first pitch of her at bat to centerfield for a two run homerun, totaling 73 RBI and 20 home runs for the tour.
Watley and Mendoza each contributed two hits a piece while Lori Harrigan (Las Vegas, NV) sealed the win completing the seventh inning from the circle. The U.S. continued its pre-Olympic tour win streak to 156 dating back to 1996. Thus far they have outscored opponents along the 2004 tour 373-11, have a team batting average of .403, a team ERA of 0.29, and have tallied eight no-hitters and four perfect games.
A three hour drive to Indiana, the U.S. will take on the Midwest All Stars in South Bend, IN on Friday evening in double header action at the Belleview Complex starting at 5 p.m.