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Brakettes Big First Inning Earns Series Split

Game Box Score

TUCSON, ARIZ – The Connecticut Brakettes used a six run first to beat the Arizona Heat and earn a series split. Jessica Merchant delivered two homeruns to pace the Brakettes offense. Nikki Myers picked up her second complete game victory of the series and improved to 6-2 on the season.

Leslie Wolfe struggled right from the start, lasting only two-thirds of an inning. She allowed six runs on five hits. Celena Velasquez came on to hurl four and two-thirds innings. She allowed three runs on five hits and struck out two. Myers went the distance for the Brakettes, surrendering three runs – two earned – on eight hits and struck out six.

After being held scoreless for 19 consecutive innings, the Brakettes did not waste anytime getting on the board. Kelly Kretschman led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice. Kellie Wilkerson drew a walk and Jessica Merchant drove in the first run with a single to right. A fielder’s choice drove in another run before Stephanie Best and Callie Piper followed with RBI singles. The scoring was capped off by Kretschman’s two-run double and the inning ended with the Brakettes up 6-0.

Connecticut added another run in the second on a solo homerun by Merchant. The Heat got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on a RBI single by LaDonia Hughes. They would add another in the fourth when April Valdez drove home a run with the bases loaded. The Heat would leave the bases loaded in the inning without scoring another run.

Arizona added another run in the fifth on a RBI single by Toni Mascarenas, cutting the lead to 7-3. The Brakettes would end any hope for the Heat, scoring three more in the sixth. Wilkerson doubled home a run and Merchant blasted her second homerun of the game to push the lead to 10-3. Merchant’s two homeruns give her a league leading nine on the season.

Myers would retire the Heat in the final two innings to close out the game. The Brakettes improved to 18-9 on the season and currently sit in second place. The Heat remains in sixth place, four and a half games out of the playoffs with a 13-19.

Nichole Thompson and Kaleo Eldredge had multi-hit games for the Heat. Thompson extended her hitting streak to nine and moved her league leading total to 34 hits. The Heat RBIs were picked up by Toni Mascarenas, April Valdez and LaDonia Hughes. Hughes made another spectacular play in the field, hauling in a ball and crashing into the fence.

Jessica Merchant finished the night three for four with a pair of homeruns and four RBIs. Andrea Duran, who had been held hitless in the series, rebounded with a three for three performance. Kelly Kretschman and Stephanie Best added a pair of hits apiece with Kretschman driving in two.

The Heat are home again this week with a four game series against the Southern California Hurricane. The series will start Thursday at 7 pm and bring a pair of Wildcats back to Tucson. Pitcher Taryne Mowatt and first baseman Sam Banister are both members of the Hurricane. Mowatt is expected to start the opening game of the series against Desiree Serrano.

Contact: Scott Kimmelman, Media Relations, Arizona Heat