Stratford, CONN - The Connecticut Brakettes lost 2-1 to the Chinese National Team on Tuesday night in heartbreaking fashion. After taking a 1-0 lead in the sixth of a pitching duel, the Brakettes gave up two unearned runs in the top half of the seventh, in losing their fourth straight and fifth out of six.
The Brakettes rode Nikki Myers back all night, as the right-handed pitcher put forth another strong outing. Myers had 11 strikeouts and just one walk, while giving up four hits. It was her fourth start in which she went the distance and did not give up an earned run. Unfortunately for the Brakettes, pitching wasnt enough. Connecticut managed to score their first earned run in the last three games in the bottom of the sixth. Callie Piper lined a single into right field, and was pinch-run for by Julie Brooks. Kelly Kretchman then singled to left, advancing Brooks into scoring position. Jessica Merchant brought
Brooks home with an RBI single, and the stage was set for the seventh.
The Chinese Nationals loaded the bases in the seventh, bringing pinch-hitter Minhong Xin to bat. With the infield in for a play at the plate, the ball was batted toward the left side. Piper tried to scoop it up, but the ball deflected off her glove, and toward shortstop Merchant. Merchant made a back-handed grab from her knees, and tried to throw home in time for a force at the plate. The throw sailed high and wide, and two runs scored. Both Piper and Merchant were charged with errors, as Yi Lu and Yi Zhou charged home with the tying and winning runs.
The loss raised Chinas record in their North American tour to 3-0, while the Brakettes dropped to 7-5 in NPF play. Myers dropped to 3-1 on the year, despite the strong effort. Chinese pitcher Huili Yu got the win to improve to 2-0.
The Brakettes and China will pick up where they left off Wednesday night at 7:05 at DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford, CT.