Racers 5, Diamonds 4
Akron, OH -- Megan Bush is starting to heat up at the plate -- and with the playoffs fast approaching, it couldn’t come at a better time.
The former Florida Gator has gone 5-14 with a home run and four RBI’s in her last three games, and continued her hot streak with a 2-for-3 night. Bush aided the Racers (22-17) to a 5-4 win over the NPF Diamonds with a two-run home run on Saturday night.
With the victory, the Racers clinch the number two seed in the NPF playoffs next week, giving them two home games against the third-seeded Chicago Bandits.
Bush, one game away from completing her rookie season, understands the importance of the win and what it does to the Racers’ playoff positioning.
“It’s really good to be home, especially against the Bandits,” Bush said. “We know it’s important to play for that last at-bat [in the game]—it’s just really going to help us in the finals.”
Toni Paisley (3-1) made her third start for the Racers since joining the team mid-season and picked up the win. The right-hander from East Carolina went five innings, surrendering six hits, four runs, walked two and struck out three.
Following Bush’s two-run bomb in the first inning, the Diamonds took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third when Loryn Johnson smacked a two-run home run to center, scoring Bianca Mejia, who led off the inning with a single. Four batters later, Jami Lobpries singled to left, plating Megan Gibson to give the Diamonds their first lead of the series.
Sam Marder knotted the game at three in the fourth inning bringing home Sharonda McDonald. Following a Diamonds’ error, a Bush single and a Schlopy hit-by-pitch, Kelley Montalvo drew her team-leading 26th walk, scoring Pauly to re-gain the lead, 4-3.
The Racers got their final run at the expense of more poor defensive play by the Diamonds in the fourth. Sharonda McDonald reached base on a fielder’s choice and stole second and third, but the catcher’s throw on McDonald’s steal of third went into left field, allowing McDonald to come home and Akron a 5-3 advantage.
Brittany McKinney made the game interesting in the sixth, hitting a home run to bring the Diamonds to within a run at 5-4, but Kristina Thorson came on in relief and threw a perfect two innings to record her first save of the season.
The Racers and Diamonds will conclude the regular season tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 p.m. at Firestone Stadium.