Lowell, Ma. -- The New England Riptide came to Martin Softball Field Saturday night looking for a sweep of their series with the Michigan Ice. It would be two first year players starting for the teams, Eileen Canney sporting a 5-2 record and 1.10 ERA, second best in the league. Canney is also second in strikeouts with 71 in only 51 innings pitched. Canney would be facing former Florida Southern standout Megan Brown for the Ice.
Both pitchers started strong for two innings, both facing six batters only (Iancin was caught stealing after reaching on a fielders choice when Carri Martin walked). The Riptide came alive in the third. Jess Merchant and Jackie Pasquerella started with singles and advanced one base on a passed ball. After a KJ Kelley strikeout, red hot Gina Carbonatto singled up the middle to score one run as Pasquerella was cut down at home trying to score the Riptides second run.
Meanwhile Canney was continuing to cruise, the only hard hit ball being a line drive by Amanda Jensen right to Shanel Scott in left. By the end of the fifth she had retired her first 15 batters, striking out five of them. The Riptide put it away in the fifth courtesy of the second hit of Pasquerella and the second hit of and second RBI by Carbonatto. Pasquerella legged out an infield hit and went to second on a throwing error by shortstop Elana Myers, the Ices first error of the series. The Ice committed three more errors during the inning that cost them dearly. Scott reached on an error, Angus walked to load the bases and Garland Cooper lifted a routine fly ball down the left field line in and out of the glove of Lani Schaffer to score three unearned runs and give the Riptide a 5-0 lead. Martin followed with a single to score Angus, Iancin walked and Jess Merchant blasted her third home run of the year. By the time the inning was over the Riptide had scored eight runs to take a 9-0 lead. Although the game was essentially over, the fans had to stay to see if Canney could continue her perfect game. The sixth saw her strike out the side. 18 in a row. In the seventh, Becky Manson grounded back to Canney for 19 in a row. Schaffer popped out to Pasquerella for number 20. But it was Ariel Jenkins that spoiled the perfect game by putting a well placed line drive between the diving Scott and Carbonato, both desperately trying to save the perfect game for their teammate. In the end though it was Miranda Ervin that made the last out. Canney finished the game with no walks, one hit and 8 strikeouts.
The Riptide are now 17-11 and will play their second and final international series, four games against Team China, ranked fourth in the world on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Martin Softball Field. Game times are 7:05pm.