Riptide Start Out Flat in Rockford
Rockford, Ill- The New England Riptide's series in Rockford began with a bump in the road last night as they dropped an 8-2 decision to the Thunder. The loss dropped the Riptide to 1-4 on the young season, certainly not the way Coach Sharon Drysdale wanted to begin the quest for a second straight championship. The game was an ugly one for both teams with Riptide starter Erica Beach and Rockford starter Amanda Freed struggling with their control all night. In fact, Beach did not make it out of the second inning as she walked four in the first inning, allowing two runs, and one more in the second before yielding to Danielle Henderson with only one out. Henderson did not walk anyone, but was unable stop the Thunder as she gave up a single to Freed that was followed by two Jessica Merchant erros that gave the Thunder a 5-0 lead after two.
In the third Freed started having control issues of her own and walked the bases loaded but managed to get out of it by inducing a force out at home on a ground ball by Gina Carbonatto and then a Lyndsey Angus fly out. Henderson ran into more trouble in the third when she gave up a leadoff single to Lindsey Gardner. After retiring the next two batters, Amanda Williams lined a double down the left field line to score Gardner. At this point Henderson left the game, which marked to debut of pitcher Eileen Canney, the Northwestern star, who recently finished her career by competing in her second College world Series. Although she was a bit tight in the third (Williams scored to give the Thunder a 7-0 lead), she managed to strike out the side in the fourth.
Freed's problems did not stop in the fourth as she walked four of the first five batters faced that inning. Cassidy Scoggins came in at that point to shut the Riptide down for the remainder of the night to pick up the win. There were few bright spots for the Riptide, the only two being the pitching performances of Canney and that of little used Tarrah Beyster, who made her second appearance in as many years. Beyster pitched the fifth and sixth for the Riptide and retired all six batters she faced, striking out four.
The two teams play the second of their four game series tomorrow night at 7:05 CST. The Riptide return home next Thursday night for their home opener against Team Venezuela which will be preceded by a championship ring presentation ceremony.
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