AKRON, Ohio The Akron Racers won their sixth consecutive National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) series as they split a doubleheader with the New York/New Jersey Juggernaut on Tuesday evening at Firestone Stadium. The Racers dropped game one 3-2 before winning game two 2-1 in nine innings.
With the game-two win, the Racers improve their record to 12-7, which is good enough for second place in the NPF standings, as they remain one half game behind the Texas Thunder.
After narrowly missing a win in the first game, the Racers came out with new momentum in the nightcap, as starter Nikki Myers retired the first three Juggernaut batters she faced on only three pitches.
Akrons offense followed Myerss example, responding to a 1-0 NY/NJ lead with a big run of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Shortstop Kristin Johnson ignited the Racers with a deep triple down the right field line and scored as the relay throw went wide, and Johnson was awarded home plate on a player interference call on NY/NJs third baseman.
The Racers and Juggernaut remained knotted at one through the rest of regulation and into the ninth inning when catcher Dana Degen led off the frame with a double over the head of Lauren Bauer in right field. Pinch-running for Degen, Wright advanced to second when right fielder Trena Peel took an intentional walk.
With a chance for another big hit, Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt, and all runners were safe on a throwing error by pitcher Gina Oaks. The errant throw not only allowed Johnson to reach first, but also let Wright touch home and give the Racers the 2-1 win.
Myers was masterful in the pitchers circle, allowing one run on only two hits in a full nine innings of work. In her first complete game of the year, Myers improves her record to 3-2 and now owns a team-low 1.53 ERA.
In game one, the Racers fell behind early, allowing one earned run in the first inning and two unearned runs in the third. Akron started a rally in the bottom half of the third inning when left fielder Heather Wright reached on a line single to left and moved around the bases following walks to Brandi Stuart and Antionette Armstrong. With two down and the bases loaded, center fielder Iyhia McMichael delivered a hard single to left field, scoring Wright and Stuart. Akron was unable to score the tying run as the score stayed at 3-2.
The Racers return to Firestone Stadium for a special holiday day-night doubleheader on Monday, July 5. The Racers will take on the California Sunbirds (8-14) at 1:05 p.m. and again at 7:05 p.m. The series continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. each night.
For game or ticket information, call the Akron Racers Foundation at 330-376-8188 or logo on to www.akronracers.org.