Norris leads Racers to victory over Force
AKRON, Ohio - Lisa Norris stepped into the pitching circle and outdueled the Force's Jessica Sallinger with a fine performance, leading the Racers to a 2-1 win. Norris kept the Force (2-9) hitters off balance for most of the night by mixing pitches and locations effectively. Norris only surrendered three singles spread out through the seven innings and none of the hits led to Philadelphia scoring.
What scoring and tough spots Akron (6-6) did allow were self-inflicted. Norris walked seven batters, including four free passes and a hit batter through the first two innings alone. The hit batter resulted in Philadelphia's only run in the game. Norris began the top of the second inning by plunking Force centerfielder Auriel Jenkins. With runners on first and second Racer catcher Kristen Butler let a pitch get away. The passed ball placed Jenkins on third and Tori Yamaguchi on second. Clare Burnum then drove Jenkins home with a sacrifice flyball to leftfield, for an unearned run, giving the Force the early 1-0 lead. After allowing one run and five base runners in the first two innings, Norris resisted the Force, giving up only six base runners (3 hits and 3 walks) in the final five innings while striking out six.
Akron's offense was controlled for most of the game by Philadelphia's starter, Jessica Sallinger, as well, but managed to muster just enough support for Norris. Akron tied the game in the bottom of the third inning when Kenora Posey got on by way of a fielder's choice on a bouncer deep in the hole to shortstop Alex Newton. Newton's only play was to second to retire Heidi Johnson. Posey wouldn't stay on first for long as the fleet-footed runner stole second base. Akron leadoff hitter Lisa Modglin then came up and drove a single back through the middle to score Posey. The Racers would score the go ahead run in the next inning, Jackie Pasquerella came up as a pinch hitter to begin the fourth inning and hit a grounder to the shortstop. Newton dove for the ball and stopped it, but then threw the ball into the Racers' dugout along the first base side. With Pasquerella on second, due to the error, rookie Sam Ricketts came up with her first professional hit on a groundball back up the middle, Pasquerella scored on the play to give the Racers the 2-1 lead.
That would be all that Norris (2-3) would need to gain the victory, as she threw a complete game, allowing only one unearned run on three hits and seven walks while striking out eight. On the opposite side, Sallinger (1-2) picked up the tough luck loss allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits and four walks while striking out three.
The Racers will try and improve on their .500 record tomorrow afternoon as they face off with the Force in a double header with the first game beginning at noon. The second game will follow shortly after the conclusion of the first one. For ticket information contact the Racers ticket office at (330)376-8188 or order tickets online at www.akronracers.org.