AKRON, Ohio (July 31, 2010) – Critical errors continued to plague the Tennessee Diamonds as the Akron Racers scored a pair of runs in the sixth to come back and earn the 6-5 win, securing a series victory at Firestone Stadium tonight.
Akron won its third-straight and improved to 20-14 with tonight’s comeback. Despite outhitting the Racers 9-4, Tennessee committed three errors, dropping to 8-26 with the loss.
Jamie Southern (1-1) earned the win in three innings of relief work, holding the Diamonds scoreless and limiting them to just two hits while striking out two. Becca Heteniak (0-4) took the loss in five innings of work after giving up six runs (three earned) on four hits and striking out three. Jamee Juarez earned her second save of the season, closing out the game in the seventh.
For the third night in a row, Tennessee established an early 1-0 lead, doing so in the first inning on a two-out DeDe Justice single which plated Jenna Rhodes who also singled to start the frame.
Trena Peel put the Racers ahead in the home half with one swing of the bat on a first pitch grand slam homer—her second this season to put Akron ahead 4-1. Prior to the blast Jess Valis reached second on a Diamond error and Heteniak issued walks to Sam Ricketts and Crystl Bustos to chug the bases.
In the second, Loryn Johnson blasted her fifth home run of the season to left field, bringing Tennessee within two (4-2).
The home run derby continued for the Diamonds atop the third as Megan Gibson put the visitors in front, 5-4 on a two-out three-run blast to left center, scoring Rhodes who singled and Jessica Williams who doubled.
An uneventful inning and a half gave way to a wacky series of events in the bottom of the fifth as Akron plated a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit. Valis earned a walk before Henteniak got a pair of quick outs but walked Peel to keep Akron’s inning alive. Pinch hitter Micaela Minner then reached on an error which enabled Valis to advance a bag before the Diamonds threw the ball to second looking to get Peel but she reached base safely. In the meantime, Valis scored and Peel safely avoided a tag at third as did Minner at second. Henteniak’s wild pitch followed to give Akron the 6-5 advantage as Peel scored easily from third.
Monica Abbott relieved Heteniak in the sixth and sat the Racers down in order before the Diamonds attempted a comeback atop the seventh. With Juarez on to close out the seventh and two outs, Chelsea Spencer singled to left and Gibson was intentionally walked. Justice—who delivered a three-run homer atop the seventh in game two stepped to the plate but would be unsuccessful in repeating last night’s performance, flying out to right to end the game.
The Racers and Diamonds conclude the series tomorrow (Sunday, August 1) with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 2:05 p.m. EST. Fans can follow along from home by watching live on MLB.com with a $19.95 season-long subscription or live stats via www.pointstreak.com.