AKRON, OH- On a night that was tailored towards the Racers’ Lisa Norris, the Bandits’ Monica Abbott stole the show in a 10-0, one-hit gem, highlighted by 18 strikeouts at Firestone Stadium.
With the win, the Bandits (6-3) take sole possession of first place in the NPF by a single game over the Racers (5-4). Chicago jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against Lisa Norris (3-2) in the first inning.An Amber Patton walk set the table for the Folden two-run home run to right center.
The Bandits’ phenom, Abbott (4-1) stormed out of the gate fanning eight of the first 10 Racers she faced. Abbott was practically untouchable on a night where the Racers were unable to extend a runner in scoring position. She struck out the side on four separate occasions (first, fifth, sixth and ninth), leaving the Racers shaking their heads in bewilderment.
Abbott, starting her fourth year in the league, refrains from tracking strikeouts during a game. She cannot recall a night in her collegiate or professional career where she was as dominant as tonight.
“Tonight was a good night”, said Abbott, “But the offense was outstanding. The home run by Folden [in the first inning] was huge and it really fired me up.”
Chicago broke out for six runs in the second inning, prompting an early exit for Norris, spoiling her honorary statue night at Firestone Stadium. With two outs and Jamee Juarez and Caitlin Lever on the corners, Megan Wiggins stroked a single to left, allowing both runners to score after Taylor Schlopy was unable to make a clean play on the ball. The ensuing hitter, Amber Patton kept the rally alive, hitting a line drive into center, driving in Wiggins to make it a 5-0 tally. Norris issued Folden a free pass and ended up paying for it after Alisa Goler connected on a three-run bomb that snuck just inside the right field foul pole.
Carla Brookbank-Schaal came on in mop-up duty to throw four innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out a batter. Wright State grad Sharon Palma came into close out the seventh inning, allowing a hit and striking out Kristine Knauer.
The Racers and Bandits will meet for the second game of the four-game series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. On Sunday, the Bandits and Racers will meet for a twinbill scheduled to begin at noon. The regularly scheduled game for 2:05 p.m. will follow the make-up game from Thursday night.