Akron, OH- Alisa Goler just wanted another chance to hit in the eighth inning.
Goler, the team’s RBI leader with 17 coming into tonight, sent the Bandits (13-9) home with a three-run shot to center field in the top of the eighth to give Chicago a 3-0 win over the Racers (11-11) at Firestone Stadium.
On a night where hits and runs were at a premium, Goler’s home run was her sixth on the year and bumped her RBI total to 20 on the season.
Amber Patton led off the extra inning with a grounder that deflected off third baseman Kelley Montalvo’s glove. Patton advanced to second on a Danielle Zymkowitz sacrifice bunt to pitcher Lisa Norris and then Megan Wiggins drew a walk on a full count. Goler jumped on the first pitch she saw from the 2010 NPF Pitcher of the Year to even the series at 1-1.
“I said Monica get three-up, three down (in the seventh inning) because I want to hit again,” Goler said. “It was a screwball which Norris was throwing most of the night to the lefties.”
Monica Abbott’s (9-1) dominance over the Racers continued tonight, going all eight innings, allowing five hits and striking out nine.
“Props to Lisa Norris and the Racers, we’ve been playing them a lot,” Abbott said. “I threw a good combination of everything tonight and was able to get a lot of pop outs on my high-risers.”
The Racers were threatening to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, but were unable to bring the go-ahead run across home plate. Taylor Schlopy led off with infield hit to short, her second hit of the night, and reached second after Montalvo hit a line drive single to right. Nicole Trimboli fouled out to the third baseman, bringing up the Racers’ leading hitter, Sam Marder. On a 0-1 count, Abbott was called for an illegal pitch, putting Schlopy on third and Montalvo at short, but Marder smoked the ball right at the first baseman Goler, who fielded it cleanly. Rookie Megan Bush was called out on strikes to end the inning without any runs.
The Racers have struggled of late coming up with the clutch base hit in crucial situations.
“It was a fun game, each team had a chance to win at the end,” Racer manager Jake Schumann said. “We just didn’t execute, Lisa pitched out of some jams and she made big pitches when she needed it. Goler stayed behind that pitch really well and got a piece of it.”
“We changed our approach tonight, just trying to put the barrel on the ball, we’re scratching and getting close [to getting past Abbott].”
The Racers and Bandits will meet again Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Firestone Stadium.
Kim Lakner, Media Relations