ROCKFORD - Sheena Lawrick and Erin McLean combined for a 4-for-7 night with two home runs and five runs batted in to produce most of Team Canada's offensive production in an 8-1 victory over the home-standing Rockford Thunder Thursday night at Players Park in Roscoe. Shanna Diller also slugged her second home run of the season deep over the right field fence in the bottom of the seventh to try to keep the Thunder within contention.
Serena Settlemier (0-1) took the loss in her season debut for Rockford, fresh off of a professional season in Italy. She gave up three earned runs over three innings, while striking out two Canadians. Allison Kime gave up three earned runs in relief, and Megan Brown lowered her league-leading ERA to 0.68 by pitching a scoreless seventh inning for the Thunder.
Hard-throwing Lauren Bay Regula earned the win for Team Canada, pitching four scoreless innings with six strikeouts and allowing just two Rockford hits. Dione Meier gave up the sole Thunder run, as she pitched three relief innings, allowing just one hit and one run.
Canada opened the scoring in the first inning, thanks to an RBI double by recent Georgia Tech graduate Jennifer Yee and Lawrick's two-run homer. The Canada second brought in two more runs, first when Melanie Matthews drove Noemie Marin in with a triple to deep left field. Matthews then promptly scored in a McLean single up the middle. Team Canada went on to scatter three more runs over the next four innings.
For Rockford, Lindsay Gardner went 1-for-3 to stay just ahead of Philadelphia third baseman Clare Burnum for third place in NPF batting average, at .361. Diller went 2-for-2 to lead the Thunder.
The two teams will match up again Friday at 6:35 pm at Players Park at 5444 Swanson Road in Roscoe, just east of the Illinois 251-Swanson Road intersection. All tickets are $5 at the gate, and fans can enter the park beginning at 5:30. Fans coming from the south should take Alpine Road north, take a left on Illinois 173 and a right on Illinois 251 to avoid a road closure on 251 at Windsor Road.