Stacey Porter hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to snatch a dramatic win for Australia over New Zealand in Game Three of the World Cup in Oklahoma City.
The Spirit went into the final inning trailing 6-5, but Rachel Lack walked with one out and advanced on a wild pitch. Then, on a 1-1 count, Porter launched her game-winning blast to right field, giving her team a hard-fought 7-6 win.
It was Porter’s second home run of the game, having connected with a solo shot to open the scoring in the first inning.
The next batter, Brenda De Blaes, was hit by a pitch and scored on Chelsea Forkin’s double. Erin Thras reached on an error, then Belinda White drove them in to make the score a seemingly comfortable 4-0.
But it all went horribly wrong for the Spirit in the fourth inning, as New Zealand scored five times to take a 5-4 lead, with three singles and a double, and helped by some sloppy fielding by the Australians.
New Zealand’s lead did not last long. In the fifth inning, Lack led off with a double, advanced to third on Porter’s fly ball, then scored on a sacrifice fly by De Blaes to tie the game.
Again the New Zealanders hit back, reclaiming the lead in the sixth inning when Lara Andrews homered.
That set the stage for a dramatic seventh inning and Porter’s heroics, which ensured the Spirit would maintain their unbeaten record after three games in the tournament.
Jocelyn Jeloudev pitched three innings, allowing just one run with one strikeout and one walk. She was relieved by Vanessa Stokes, who gave up four runs but all were unearned. Kaia Parnaby pitched the final two innings, allowing just one run on that homer by Andrews.