ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Following a special visit from Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano, the Chicago Bandits defeated the NPF Diamonds 4-0, despite a one hour and 20 minute lightning delay.
Led by pitcher Nikki Nemitz and timely hitting, the Bandits snatched the first of this four-game series.
To start the game, both pitchers, Nemitz and Morgan Melloh, started off the first inning strong. Nemitz retired the top of the lineup in order, which included two groundouts. Although she gave up a leadoff base hit to Megan Wiggins, Melloh was able to keep her stranded at third base by striking out third baseman Alisa Goler.
After Nemitz sat down the lineup in order, the Bandits struck first in the second inning. Following getting hit by a pitch, Caitlin Lever stole second base and with a liner from Jamee Juarez, the Bandits would lead 1-0.
Entering the third inning, Nemitz continued her dominance against the Diamonds lineup, striking out the side. She handled the bottom of the order giving her a quick total of four strikeouts.
Adding to their initial score from the second inning, the Bandits continued to hit in the third inning and maintained their success against Melloh. With a leadoff double from Wiggins, Rachel Folden increased the Bandits lead to two after blasting a ball to the right-center wall, knocking Wiggins in.
As the fourth inning began, both pitchers were solid. Despite a two-out double from Bianca Mejia, Nemitz held the Diamonds to two groundouts and a strikeout to escape the inning.
For the Diamonds, after a walk to Caitlin Lever, Melloh got a spectacular double play from second baseman Aja Paculba and also a groundout from Danielle Zymkowitz to head into the fifth inning.
In the fifth inning, as Nemitz continued to shut down the Diamonds,the Bandits added another run bringing their lead to 3-0. As Rachel Folden hit a two-out double and pinch runner Robin Thompson scored after a base hit to right field from Goler.
Heading into the sixth inning, Nemitz stayed hot as she got Paculba to ground out and struck out the last two batters. Hitting her second home run of the season, Lever helped the Bandits solidify their lead as she sent a rocket over the center field wall putting the score to 4-0.
Nemitz ended the game as she retired the middle of the Diamonds order, sending fans home happy with a great victory.
The Diamonds and Bandits will meet again Friday night at 7:35 at Rosemont Stadium for Game 2 of the Series.