ROCKFORD - A productive fourth inning, capped by Stephanie Best's first home run as a member of the Thunder (7-3), saw all of Rockford's scoring Friday, but was enough to take a win from the Netherlands national team for a second consecutive night.
Illinois native Shanna Diller continued to play outstanding offense for the second night in a row, doubling twice, scoring a run, and driving in one run for Rockford. On the series, Diller is 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Righty Megan Brown (3-0) added to her early-season success, allowing no earned runs on just three hits over five and two-thirds innings. Brown is the league leader in ERA, earning a 0.797 ERA over six appearances. Cassidy Scoggins, Thursday's game-winner, came into the game in relief in the top of the sixth inning to earn her first save of 2008.
Fans at Roscoe's Players Park were treated to a pitchers' duel over the first three innings of the game, with the two teams combining for just four hits in that time. In the bottom of the fourth, however, the Thunder found its stride.
Savannah Brown singled to lead off the fourth, followed by Diller's second double of the evening, which drove in Brown from first. The Netherlands then lifted starting pitcher Rebecca Soumeru in favor of Dagmar Bloeming. On Bloeming's first pitch of the night, Best slugged a long home run to give Rockford a 3-0 advantage.
The Dutch nationals mounted their comeback attempt in the top of the sixth when an infield single and two infield errors loaded the bases with none out. Designated player Marloes Fellinger then took four straight balls to walk in a run. The Netherlands got on the board again when catcher Nathalie Timmermans singled to right field. Brown and Scoggins were then able to retire the next three batters in order, despite a close suicide squeeze play that would have tied the game at 3. Vickie Batistelli managed to lay down the tag just in time to retire Saskia Kosterink.
Rockford and the Netherlands will once again match up Saturday at Players Park in Roscoe, this time for a double-header, beginning at 3:05 pm. Single game tickets are $5 and two-game passes are $8 at the gate.