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Bandits Strike Last, Defeat Racers 10-6

AKRON, Ohio - *In a back and forth game that saw four lead changes and plenty of offense, the Chicago Bandits defeated the Akron Racers with one big swing in the top of the seventh inning off the bat of center fielder Caitlin Lever. With the game tied 6-6, one out and the bases loaded Lever launched a ball deep into the night sky that sailed over the center field fence. The 10-6 lead for the Bandits was enough to put the game out of reach for Akron.

Akron certainly helped put themselves into that hole as the inning started with Nicole Trimboli reaching on a throwing error by shortstop Jessica Toocheck. Two batters later Racer pitcher Kate Robinson plunked Kristie Fox to put runners on first and second. Pinch hitter Jamie Schloredt then loaded the bases with a single deep in the hole to Toocheck. Up next came Lever and her grand slam.

The offensive fireworks were supplied early by the Racers as Akron came up with three home runs in the first three innings. The first of which came in the bottom of the first inning as number one overall draft choice Kaitlin Cochran launched a two run homer to center field with two outs. The blast gave Akron a 2-0 lead early.

That lead wouldn't last long though as Chicago came roaring back with five runs in the top of the second inning. Lever again supplied big offense for Chicago as she tied the game at two with a two run single with two outs.  Stacy May then drove Lever in with a double down the right field line giving Chicago their first lead of the game. Back to back singles and an error by Akron first baseman Sam Ricketts produced the final two runs for the Bandits. In all, Chicago scored five runs with four two out hits.

Chicago couldn't hold their 5-2 lead for very long either. In the bottom of the third inning, catcher Kristen Butler cut the Racers' deficit to 5-4 with a two run home run to left field. Two batters later Cochran delivered her second home run of the game, this one a solo shot to right field. The home run tied the game at five.

Both teams added a run in the fifth inning as Fox hit an RBI single for Chicago, and Akron's Jackie Pasquerella drove a sacrifice fly ball to left field that brought home Lisa Modglin, who had doubled two batters earlier.

The two offensive stars of the game were clearly Lever for Chicago who went 3-4 with with two singles, the grand slam, six RBIs and two runs scored, and Cochran for Akron who went 3-4 with two home runs and a single, three RBIs and two runs scored.

Eileen Canney improved to 9-1 on the year for Chicago with a win in relief.  Canney threw three shut out innings in relief allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out four Racers. Preceding Canney were starter Kristina Thorson who allowed four runs on four hits and one walk in 2.1 innings of work and Brandice Balschmiter who allowed two runs on three hits in 1.2 innings.

Kate Robinson (2-2) picked up the loss for the Racers pitching two innings of relief allowing four runs, three earned, on two hits and a walk with a pair of strike outs. Robinson relieved starter Lisa Norris who allowed six runs, five earned, on 11 hits and a walk with six strikeouts in five innings of work.

Not helping the pitchers' cause was all around sloppy play from the Racers' defense who gave away four errors, walked two baters and hit another, and allowed two passed balls and a wild pitch

With the series tied at two games a piece Akron and the Bandits will square off in the rubber match tomorrow night at 7:05 PM. For ticket information contact the Racers ticket office at 330-376-8188 or purchase your tickets online at www.akronracers.org.