ROSEMONT, Ill. -- With two of the best pitchers in the circle Thursday night, fans were treated to a matchup that lived up to its billing.
Monica Abbott of the Bandits went inning-for-inning with Akron’s 2010 NPF Pitcher of the Year, Lisa Norris, until the Bandits grabbed a 2-0 lead in the 5th inning. It was all Chicago needed for its 12th victory of the season.
Catcher Shannon Doepking led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Rookie Alexis Jager came in to pinch run and stole second with Danielle Zymkowitz at the plate. Zymkowitz took the sixth pitch of the at-bat to left field for a double, scoring Jager for the game’s first run. She would reach third on an error by left fielder Taylor Schlopy.
The next batter, Megan Wiggins, hit a chopper to second for the first out, scoring Zymkowitz to go up 2-0.
From there Abbott continued to baffle the Racers as she struck out 13 on the night. It was her second straight double-digit strikeout game and fourth on the season. She struck out 12 NPF Diamonds in her last outing. In the lefty’s last start against Akron on July 23, Abbott struck out 18 Racers.
Her mound mate, Norris, was equally as tough. She struck out seven over six innings, allowing five hits, three walks, one hit batter and two earned runs.
Chicago had its scoring chances prior to the fifth but could not capitalize. Megan Wiggins led off the bottom of the first with a double and was advanced to third on an Amber Patton infield single. With two runners in scoring position, Norris would set down Rachel Folden, Alisa Goler and Jamee Juarez in order to work out of the jam.
Akron was in the midst of being no-hit until Roya St. Clair singled off Abbott with two outs in the fifth. The only other Akron base runners reached on a walk and an Abbott error.