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6/4/97 -- 1:01 AM

Firestix still winless after 8-7 loss to Pride

By BLANE BACHELOR Tampa Tribune correspondent

TAMPA - The lights went out - literally - on the Tampa Bay Firestix's home debut against the Georgia Pride at Red McEwen Field on Tuesday night.

The Firestix watched their four-run lead disappear, along with the stadium's lighting, during a technical difficulty that stopped play for nearly 30 minutes before the Pride pulled out a four-run inning to cap off an 8-7 comeback victory.

It was the third consecutive one-run loss for the Firestix, now 0-3 at the beginning of their 72- game season. Their focus for the upcoming games: capitalize on the positives - which were strong fielding and a solid start against the Pride - to close out the victory.

``We were in control of the game, I felt, and a lot of crazy things happened,'' Firestix coach Bob Brock said. ''This is certainly not an 0-3 team, and I think a lot of people can see that. We make a few mistakes here and there, and tonight, we didn't seem to get the right hits at the right time.''

The Firestix built a 7-3 lead entering the sixth, after the Pride tied the score at 3 in the second with a three-run homer from Jenny Brewster. Tampa Bay responded with a two-run double in its next at-bat from shortstop Megan Murray for the lead again, which jumped to 6-3 after a Georgia throwing error brought in another run. But a disastrous sixth inning for the Firestix, which included four consecutive singles from the Pride and a two-run error from catcher Beth Gerken, erased that lead for a 7-7 tie.

The announced crowd of 1,443 then enjoyed a mid-game fireworks display during the delay from the lighting problem. The show seemingly provided a spark for the Pride, who capitalized on a fielding error off a single from Martya Laudato for the final margin.

The Firestix collected all seven of their hits in the first four innings. ''I think a lot of us are used to a game where you jump ahead early, and the games goes by so quickly it stays set like that,'' said Firestix pitcher DeeDee Weiman (0-2), who allowed nine hits for eight runs, six earned. ''It just caught up to us.''

The Firestix face the Pride (1-2) for the second of the three- game series tonight at 7 at Red McEwen Field.


Georgia 030 004 1-8 9 1 W- Espinoza (1-1)

Tampa Bay 322 000 0-7 7 2. L- Weiman (0-2).

Posted to 6/5/97 by Mike McDermott

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