AKRON, Ohio (July 29, 2010) – Akron starter Lisa Norris won the battle featuring two of the National Pro Fastpitch’s top hurlers, striking out 10 batters en route to her 11th win of the season as the Racers defeated the visiting Tennessee Diamonds, 2-1 at Firestone Stadium tonight.
Akron (18-14) took an early 2-0 lead and neutralized the Diamond rally atop the sixth to drop Tennessee to 8-24 on the year.
Norris (11-3) was lights-out in seven complete, allowing just one run on two hits in addition to striking out 10. At one point, the Racers’ hurler retired nine consecutive batters, the final four going doing on strikeouts. Monica Abbott (5-5) took the loss in six innings pitched, giving up two runs (one earned) on just three hits while striking out six.
Akron touched Abbott for a pair of runs in the bottom of the third on a RBI single from Sam Ricketts which scored Lisa Modglin who was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Jess Valis, who singled on a well-executed bunt also scored on the play thanks to a Jenna Rhodes’ error in right to take the 2-0 lead.
In the sixth, Chelsea Spencer trimmed the margin to one after depositing her fifth homer of the year over the fence in right center. The Diamonds seemed poised to strike again when Megan Gibson walked and then advanced to third on a Racer error as Loryn Johnson reached first on a fielder’s choice with just one out. After pinch runner Shanel Scott’s stolen base, Norris got Chelsie Mesa to lineout to second and Jami Lobpries to pop up to short to end the threat with Akron’s lead intact.
Norris bounced back from a shaky sixth inning to retire the Diamonds in order atop the seventh. Pinch hitters DeDe Justice and Shanna Diller went down on a fly out and strikeout respectively before Norris got Rhodes to groundout to preserve her 11th victory.
Game two of the five-game series is slated for tomorrow night (Friday, July 30) at 7:05 p.m. EST. Fans can follow along from home by watching live on MLB.com with a $19.95 season-long subscription or live stats via www.pointstreak.com.