Akron, Ohio--The Akron Racers erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and cruised to an 8-1 win over the California Sunbirds.
The Racers notched their 17th straight win and improved to 19-1 overall, one full game ahead of Chicago (18-2) in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) standings. The Sunbirds lost to Akron for the eighth time this season and fell to 0-12.
Center fielder Iyhia McMichael, who sat out yesterdays game for precautionary reasons, came back strong with a 3-for-3 day at the plate and increased her NPF-leading run total to 33. McMichael belted her sixth home run of the season to left field to lead off the bottom of the third inning and tied the game at 1-1. The 2004 NPF Most Valuable Player was shaken up Friday evening when she ran through the center field fence attempting to snag a home-run ball.
The Racers sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored six times in the fourth frame, bunching three hits, three walks, one sacrifice fly and two California errors. Jenn Poore led off with a walk and eventually scored on an error to make it 2-1. Hilary Puglias fly ball to left scored Lindsey Bashor from third and ran the score to 3-1. McMichael doubled home Kelly Kretschman with the fourth Akron run. Then, after Kristin Johnson walked, Crystl Bustos doubled home McMichael and Johnson. Akron led 7-1 after Bustos scored on a throwing error. Bustos raised her league leading RBI total to 26.
Bashor singled and scored on Michaels RBI single in the fifth to close the scoring.
Akron starter Jamie Southern improved to 3-0 and is yet to give up an earned run in 18 innings pitched as a Racer. The Sunbirds plated an unearned run in the top of the first. Radara McHugh worked the final three innings and recorded her third save. Megan Denney took the loss for California.
The Racers await the Chicago Bandits and a four-game series which begins Friday (July 8) at Firestone Stadium.