Akron , Ohio Every aspect of the Akron Racers was in sync Friday night, as the Racers defeated the New England Riptide, 6-0, and clinched their
third consecutive National Pro Fastpitch playoff berth.
Akron's Radara McHugh (13-7) put on a pitching display, while her teammates in the batting order gave her plenty of support, and played well behind her in the field.
Riptide starter Erica Beach (2-3) made quick work of the first six batters she faced, but third baseman Tracee McCoy leadoff the third inning in dramatic fashion. McCoy blasted the Beach offering over the center-field fence for her first homerun of the season.
Designated player Stephanie Pomes followed McCoy's example in the fourth when she also ripped her first longball of the year down the left-field line.
The 2-0 lead allowed McHugh to settle into a rhythm. McHugh threw a complete game shutout, giving up just two hits, two walks and setting down four on strikes. She retired the last twelve Riptide batters she faced.
Even with Radara seemingly automatic in the circle, the Racers' bats did not relax. A two-out rally in the fifth, resulting in four runs, broke the game open.
With runners on first and second, Amber Hall singled sharply to center scoring McCoy from second. Iyhia McMichael went to third on the play, while Hall advanced to second on the throw.
Caitlyn Benyi has been struggling lately at the plate, but she laced a double over second baseman Lisa Iancin's glove, scoring both runners. Benyi plated the final run on a Pomes RBI single. Pomes went 2-for-3 with two RBI's and a run scored. All four runs in the inning were unearned for the Riptide as an error early in inning kept the frame alive for the Racers.
Beach was credited with allowing all six runs, but only two of them were earned, in her four and two thirds innings pitched.
The Racers and Riptide close-out their four-game series tomorrow at Firestone Stadium with a 7:05 contest. New England had previously secured a playoff birth, but both teams are still battling for position. Fans can call the Racers Ticket Office at 330-376-8188 for ticket information.