AKRON, OH- The Chicago Bandits only needed seven innings Friday night to defeat the Racers after Monica Abbott’s brilliant pitching performance. Tonight, they needed 10, as Chicago (7-3) outlasted the Racers (5-5), 5-4 in 10 innings at Firestone Stadium.
With the win, the Bandits extended their NPF lead over the Racers to two games and remain first in the NPF, after Monica Abbott (5-1) came on in relief in the bottom of the ninth inning to earn her second win in as many nights. The former Olympian came on in relief for starter Nikki Nemitz to record the final seven outs, five of which came via strikeouts. The starting pitchers, Kristina Thorson and Nemitz were the story in the first seven innings of the game, each allowing one run on four hits, with neither factoring into the final decision. Morgan Childers (1-3) came on in relief in the eighth inning for Thorson, suffering her third loss of the season.
With the Racers facing a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the seventh, Nicole Trimboli came on to pinch-hit for Courtney Bures and stroked a double to right center field to score Reba Tutt, who came on to pinch-run for Kelley Montalvo after she singled to center with one out.
The Racers faced another hole at 2-1 after the Bandits scored on a Nemitz ground-rule double to right in the top of the eighth.Nicole Pauly led off the inning, smoking a pinch-hit solo home run over the left center field fence to keep the Racers alive for another inning at 2-2.
The Bandits regained the lead at 3-2 in the top of the eighth when Megan Wiggins beat out first baseman’s Nicole Trimboli at home.
Two consecutive throwing errors in the top of the tenth gave the Bandits two more runs to take a commanding 5-2 lead. The Racers threatened to tie the game for a third time, but came up short after Monica Abbott got Sharonda McDonald to line out to end the game.
The Racers and Bandits will kick off a doubleheader starting at noon on Sunday and conclude the series with the regularly-scheduled game at 2:05 p.m.