AKRON, Ohio (August 8, 2010) – Akron and Chicago battled back and forth throughout today’s game however it was the Bandits who prevailed 7-5 to spoil the Racers’ regular season home finale at Firestone Stadium.
With the series victory, Chicago (26-14) builds its lead atop the National Pro Fastpitch standings up to three and a half games while Akron (22-17) remains in second place with today’s defeat.
Nikki Nemitz (7-2), who earned her second consecutive win in relief work this series held the Racers scoreless while allowing just three hits, striking out two batters in four innings. Brittany Weil (0-2) worked two and a third innings in relief and gave up three runs on as many hits to take the loss.
Offensively, Courtney Bures finished the day 3-for-3 with a pair of runs scored while Mackenzie Vandergeest was 2-for-3 with three RBI to pace the Racers who finished with nine hits, outhitting the Bandits, who finished with eight, including three homers.
The Bandits staked an early lead when Rachel Folden hit her second homer in as many days for her 10th blast on the season to put the Bandits ahead 1-0 in the first inning.
A frame later, Vandergeest drove a two-RBI double to right center, plating Bures who singled and Sharonda McDonald who reached on a fielder’s choice to give Akron the 2-1 lead.
Racers’ starter Taryne Mowatt ran into trouble in the third when she issued walks to Amber Patton and Folden before Samantha Findlay singled to load the bases. Angela Findlay then picked up the RBI walk to tie the game and chase Mowatt from the mound as Weil entered in relief. An out later, Emily Friedman put the Bandits ahead on a sac-fly RBI to take a 3-2 lead over the Racers.
With Weil holding the Bandits scoreless in the fourth, Akron got to work in the home half of the frame, plating three runs on five hits to reclaim the lead. Bures led off with a double to left, McDonald singled and Vandergeest drove the lead runner in on a sharp single down the left field line. Jackie Pasquerella battled back from an 0-2 hole to work the count full before depositing a two-RBI double into right to put Akron up, 5-3.
The Bandits—who lead the league in home runs, put on a hitting clinic in the fifth as Angela Findlay crushed a one-out solo shot to center. Vicky Galindo singled prior to Friedman’s two-run blast to left field, giving the Bandits a 6-3 edge as Weil was lifted in favor of team workhorse Lisa Norris. Caitlin Lever drove a single up the middle and stole second base but Norris got the next tow batters to fly out to left and line out to third to retire the side with the Bandits ahead by one, 6-5.
Chicago added one run in the seventh on a two-out Stacy May RBI single which scored Friedman who led off with a walk.
The Racers begin a two-week road trip with stints at the Tennessee Diamonds (August 12-15) before facing the USSSA Pride (August 19-22) to close out the regular season. Akron then heads to Sulphur, La. August 24-29 for the NPF Championship Series.