Stratford, CONN - The Connecticut Brakettes won their third straight game against the Texas Thunder, Friday night at DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford. The 5-3 win was capped as four Brakette runs came home in the fifth inning, the last two on wild pitches. The Brakettes rode a solid effort by starting pitcher Kaci Clark, who won her third game of the year, all against the Thunder.
The Thunder started the scoring in the second inning, as Clare Burnum was hit by a pitch with one out. She advanced to second on a single by Nina Lindenberg. Adrian Gregory followed with an RBI single, putting Texas up 1-0. Denise Dahlberg then laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, which was thrown into right field by Clark. Lindenberg came around to score from second to open a 2-0 Thunder lead. The Brakettes were fortunate to get out of trouble, as Rocky Spencer flew out to centerfielder Kelly Kretschman, and Adrian Gregory was thrown out at the plate. Catcher Germaine Fairchild expertly blocked the plate to get Gregory on the tag.
The Thunder added a run in the third, as Danyelle Gomez smashed a home run to dead center. It was her second homer in the last four games against Connecticut.
The Brakettes inched back in the fourth inning, as Julie Brooks RBI single scored Stephanie Best from second. Best, who had two hits in the game, doubled with one out to set the table for Brooks.
Kretschman led off the fifth with a walk, and advanced to second on Denise Denis sacrifice bunt. Denis was safe at first, as the throw was off the mark. Kellie Wilkerson came up next, and ripped a single to right, to load the bases with no outs. Jessica Merchant then lined a two-run single to right-center to tie the game at 3-3. Wilkerson went to third on the play, and scored on a wild pitch by Kristen Vitek, who came into the game after Merchants single. Vitek replaced Texas starter Krystal Lewallen, who went four innings and gave up five runs. Merchant scored the last run on another wild pitch, closing out the scoring at 5-3.
Clark got stronger as the game progressed, and struck out three over the next three innings. She would be lifted in favor of Nikki Myers in the top of the seventh, as she had allowed a single and a double, to put runners at second and third with no outs.. Myers induced a grounder back to herself, holding the runners as she threw to first. The side was retired as she struck out 2005 league MVP Kristen Zaleski, and got Gomez to ground out to short.
The Brakettes improved to 14-7 and stand alone in second place in NPF standings. The Thunder dropped to 14-12, which leaves them in fifth place. Clarks record moved up to 3-2 on the season, as Lewallen dropped to 1-3.
The two teams will play twice more this weekend, with games both Saturday and Sunday at 5:05 Eastern time. Saturdays game will be taped by ESPN2 for airing on Thursday, July 20th at 8 PM.