Stratford, CONN - The Connecticut Brakettes managed just one hit off of Philadelphia Force pitcher Stephanie Van Brakle Friday night, but it came in grand fashion. Germaine Fairchilds sixth inning grand slam provided all the offense the Brakettes would need, and Nikki Myers went the distance to pick up the 4-2 victory. Myers gave up two seventh inning runs, both of which were unearned, and improved to 7-3 with the win. She lowered her ERA to 2.24 in striking out seven and walking none.
Fairchilds blast took the air out of the Force, albeit momentarily. The plate was set for the Brakette catcher with one out in the sixth. Kelly Kretschman drew a walk, and advanced two bases on wild pitches by Van Brakle. With Kretschman at third, Kellie Wilkerson also worked a free pass to put runners at first and third. Wilkerson then stole second, which led to Jessica Merchant being hit by a pitch to load the bases. Fairchild knew she needed to drive the ball to the outfield at the bare minimum for a sacrifice fly, as The Brakettes bats had been held at bay all night. She did that and more, drilling a 2-0 pitch well to left field to put Connecticut up 4-0.
Both Myers and Van Brakle threw very well for their squads, and it seemed throughout the game that they were destined for extra innings. Van Brakle allowed four walks while striking out four, and dropped to 4-7 with the loss. Her ERA stands at 3.18, and all four runs allowed were earned. Perhaps lost in the decision was a strong outing in which she gave up just the one hit. Myers scattered three hits, but was just that much better than Van Brakle. She pitched out of trouble in the seventh, when the Force scored their first run on a throwing error by Stephanie Best. The second run crossed after a fielding error by Myers. The seventh was not pretty, as the Brakettes committed three of their four errors in the frame. Myers, however, did not get flustered. She retired Carrie Leto on a grounder to second to end the rally.
The Brakettes improved to 21-12 with the victory, as the Force dropped to 9-21. The teams meet again Saturday at Frank DeLuca HOF Field in Stratford, CT at 7:05, and again Sunday at 5:05.