Lowell, Mass The New England Riptide was set to take on the Connecticut Brakettes in game three of the four game series Friday July 28 when thunderstorms moved into the area postponing the contest. The weather cleared and the Riptide was back on the field Saturday July 29 for a double header with the Brakettes. A seventh inning rally sent the Riptide to a 5-4 victory over the Brakettes in game three.
Connecticut came out swinging looking for a game three victory to take the lead in the series. Erica Beach started the game in the circle for New England after recording the loss against the Brakettes in game two. Beach struck out leadoff batter Kelly Kretschman, who has been a force at the plate for Connecticut throughout the series, but struggled through the remainder of the first. Kellie Wilkerson walked and Jessica Merchant doubled into left centerfield to put two runners in scoring position for the Brakettes. Designated player Germaine Fairchild walked to load the bases for Connecticut with one out in the inning. Stephanie Hill was next up, hitting a single over the head of Destiny Frankenstein at short that scored Wilkerson giving the Brakettes an early 1-0 lead. Adrienne Alo was next to bat; Alo has struggled at the plate throughout the season with only one hit in 37 at bats. Alo broke out of her slump sending a double into deep centerfield that cleared the bases, putting Connecticut on top 4-0.
The Riptide faced tough opposition at the plate from Brakettes pitcher Nikki Myers. Myers retired the first three New England batters she faced in the first. Designated player Tarrah Beyster was the first to get to Myers for a hit in the bottom of the second. Kristine Botto was entered to pinch run for Beyster but the Riptide bats could not bring Botto home as Connecticut turned an inning-ending double play. Right fielder Julie Brooks caught a deep fly ball off the bat of Jen Scavone and threw to Wilkerson at first for the force play on Botto who was advancing to second.
The Riptide batters cracked Myers in the bottom of the third. Myers handed a walk to leadoff batter Jackie Pasquerella, and Lisa Iancin singled to put two on for New England. A wild pitch by Myers advanced both Pasquerella and Iancin. Kristin Vesely grounded out to first with a sacrifice that scored Pasquerella and advanced Iancin cutting the Brakettes lead, 4-1. The Tide continued to rolls through the inning, Lindy Winkler was next to the plate singling to score Iancin making it 4-2 Brakettes. Myers walked KJ Kelley putting two on with two out. Lyndsey Angus singled, scoring Winkler and putting New England down by one 4-3. An error on the throw by third baseman Hill advanced both Kelley and Angus giving the Riptide two runners in position to score. Myers decided not to test her shaky pitching streak against Beyster, handing her an intentional walk to load the bases. Myers struck out Scavone to put the inning away after facing all nine batters in the Riptide order.
After three scoreless innings the Brakettes threatened to increase their lead in the top of the seventh. Kretschman led off with a single and a base hit by Wilkerson advanced Kretschman to third. Riptide pitcher Jocelyn Forest entered in relief for Beach with two on for the Brakettes, Kretschman threatening to score and no outs in the inning. The Riptide defense quickly collected two outs behind Forest in the circle as Merchant flied out to Vesely in right and Fairchild grounded out to Frankenstein. Forest struck out Hill to end the inning stranding Kretschman and Wilkerson on base.
The Riptide rallied looking to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. An error by third baseman Alo allowed leadoff batter Frankenstein to reach safely. Vesely laid down a sacrifice that got her thrown out at first while putting Frankenstein in scoring position at second. Brakettes pitcher Sarah Pauly came in to relieve Nikki Myers with the Riptide threatening to score. Winkler bunted her way on sending Frankenstein to third. Kristin Allain entered to pinch run for Frankenstein at third and Winkler stole second, giving the Riptide two runners in scoring position with one out in the inning. Kelley laid down a sacrifice bunt and was thrown out first but scored Allain tying the game at 4. Pauly intentionally walked Angus, and then pitched around Beyster, loading the bases. Jen Scavone was next to bat, but Pauly could not stand the pressure and walked Scavone sending Winkler home for the 5-4 victory.
The Tide are back in action tonight, Saturday July 29 at 7:05 for the final game of the series with the Connecticut Brakettes. It's 70s night at the ballpark, so fans can come out prepared to listen to some classic 70s music. Gates open at 5:30 and tickets are available at the gate.