AKRON, Ohio The Akron Racers swept a doubleheader against the California Sunbirds on Saturday evening at Firestone Stadium by scores of 7-1 and 2-0. With the back-to-back wins, the Racers take sole possession of the second place position in the league. Pitcher Nikki Myers earned the Racers first shutout victory of the season in the game two win.
Forced to endure rainouts for the past two days, the Racers wasted no time getting to the Sunbirds, scoring two runs in the first inning of game one. Second baseman Brandi Stuart began the frame by reaching base, as her swung-on third strike got past Sunbirds catcher Jaime Wolbach. Stuart used her speed to advance on the base paths, stealing second and third, and scored on a Wolbach error.
The Racers tacked on one more in the inning as Trena Peel, who was struck by a pitch in the helmet, came in to score on first baseman Nicole Trimbolis RBI single.
Stuart garnered Summa Health Care Systems Play of the Game in the bottom of the second when she blasted an RBI triple to score leftfielder Danielle Fincham.
Akron exploded with three runs in the fifth, when Jenn Poore sent a two-out single to center and scored on Trimbolis RBI double. Trimboli scored a run of her own, taking third on a wild pitch and touching home on shortstop Kristin Johnsons RBI single. The Racers added the seventh and final run of the game when Stuart knocked a single to third base, scoring Lindsay Wood, who had reached on a walk.
Equally as impressive as the Racers defense, was its pitching staff. Brandee McArthur got the start for Akron, working five shutout innings, allowing no runs and only one hit, improving her record to 2-1 this year. McArthur earned Custom Sports Imprints (CSI) Player of the Game for her performance on the mound. Radara McHugh pitched two innings in relief, allowing two hits and one run.
For the Sunbirds, Cleveland State graduate Amy Kyler started in the pitchers circle, but was relieved after four and two-thirds innings after surrendering six runs on seven hits.
In the nightcap, it all came down to pitching for the Racers, who relied heavily on starter Nikki Myers, CSI Player of the Game. Myers started the game by recording Ks for five of the first six outs, including three consecutive strikeouts in the second inning. Myers collected a team-high eight strikeouts in the game en route to her second win of the young season.
Similar to the early game, the Racers got on the board in the first when Stuart helped to manufacture a run. Stuart worked a leadoff walk, then swiped second and scored on Trena Peels single to left-centerfield.
Akron added an insurance run in the fifth as a result of two hit batters. Johnson reached with one out after she was stuck by Sunbird Jodie Coxs pitch, and the Racers loaded the bases on a single and a walk. With three on and two out, Peel earned a painful RBI as she was hit for the second time in the same night.
Strong Racers defense helped preserve Akrons first shutout of the season in the top of the seventh when Trimboli made a tricky stop to tag-out Kellyn Tate and check Brandy Thurman at third. Ohio native Danielle Fincham recorded the last out of the game, and Summa Play of the Game, by nabbing a looping line drive in centerfield that threatened to fall for a base hit.
Cox worked a strong game in the circle for California, allowing the two runs on only two hits, while striking out eight Racers. She was, however, tagged with her second loss of the season, as her teammates could not post any runs to show for their four hits.