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LOWELL, Mass. - The New England Riptide got off to a shaky start on Friday night at Martin Field, surrendering three runs in the first inning, as the Akron Racers held on to win 3-1.

In the first inning the Racers opened the game with a walk to NPF All-Star Brandi Stuart. After striking out Kristin Johnson, Iyhia McMichael hit a bloop into the bermuda triangle. With runners on the corners, Dana Degen drove a solid single to centerfield to score Stuart. McMicheal scored on an infield out and Degen came around to score on a Jenn Poore single and the damage was done.

The Riptide had chances as they so often have had in the past, stranding eight runners in the game. A few of the runners would have scored in the second if not for a spectacular play turned in by Racer 3rd baseman, Tracee McCoy.

After a Rachael McGinnis walk and a Sara Jewett double into the left center gap, Lyndsey Angus hit a line drive down the third base line. McCoy somehow managed to get a glove on it, knocking it down, and retreived it in foul territory in time to get Angus at first.

Akron starting pitcher and former UMASS star, Danielle Henderson, was not at her sharpest tonight, allowing one run and one hit, while walking four and hitting a batter in three innings of work.

The Riptide got to Henderson for their lone run in the third when Jess Allister opened the inning with a walk and was safe at second on a fielder's choice. After hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch to score Allister, Henderson was lifted in favor of Radara McHugh, who finished the game to pick up her ninth win of the season. McHugh got Angus to groundout to third, before getting Nichole Thompson to strike out and Laura Leonetti to pop up to end the threat.

Riptide starter Dana Sorensen (2-6) started poorly, but got stronger as the game progressed giving up only three hits, while striking out six in the final six innings.

The Riptide will try to even the series with the Racers on Saturday in Lowell. The Racers are now 20-7 and hold a 2.5 game lead over the NY/NJ Juggernaut, while the Riptide drop to 13-18 and remain in fourth place.