Written by Blair Stenzel
ROUND ROCK, Texas-With the series tied at one, the Bandits and Pride squared off at the Dell Diamond in front of a crowd of over 5,000 excited softball fans.
With one out and nobody on, Rachel Folden stepped up to the plate against the Pride’s Desiree Serrano. Down in the count by one strike, Folden blasted one deep to right field for a solo home run, putting the nail in the coffin for Serrano and the Pride with a score of 3-1.
Folden started the game the way she finished it, with a bang. She sent the first pitch to the outfield for a stand up RBI double, bringing in Emily Friedman.
The Bandits played phenomenal defense throughout the game, especially in the fourth inning. After a passed ball put the Pride’s Jessica Mendoza and Charlotte Morgan on second and third, pitcher Kristina Thorson buckled down to strike out Andrea Duran and force Francesca Enea into a groundout to end the inning.
No defense could help the Bandits from the heavy swinging bats and quick feet of Natasha Watley and Melissa Roth which put the Pride up on the board with their only run of the game.
Thorson was relieved by Nikki Nemitz in the sixth inning after giving up one run, five hits and earning five strikeouts. Nemitz was recorded with her fourth save of the season after two innings of work.
The Pride’s Desiree Serrano would be saddled with the loss after giving up three runs off six hits and two walks on the night.
The second game of tonight’s double-header started off with a bang just like in the first, but this time it was for the Pride. With two on and one out, Jessica Mendoza sent the ball flying over the right field fence for a quick three runs.
After three long innings, the Bandits finally threatened the Pride in the fourth inning with runners in scoring position, but a called third strike on center fielder Caitlin Lever ended the inning with the Bandits still scoreless.
With one out in the fifth inning, Kretschman drilled a ball to right center, eventually crossing the plate on an RBI single from Mendoza, her second RBI of the night. After Mendoza’s single, Callahan dropped in a bloop hit between short and center, which allowed the speedy Mendoza to wrack up another run for the Pride, making it 5-0.
Although Sallinger held the Pride in the sixth inning, Nemitz came in for relief in the seventh, but couldn’t quiet the bat of Mendoza who laced one over the center field fence. With her second home run of the night, Mendoza brought the score to 7-0 in favor of the Pride.
The biggest hit of the night for the Bandits came in the seventh inning off the bat of Amber Patton who laced one to right center for a stand up triple. Friedman would fail to bring her in, ending the game with a swinging strikeout and final score of 7-0.
Finch recorded her third loss of the season, with a pitch count in the high 90s, giving up five runs off six hits. Danielle Lowrie had the Bandits baffled as she pitched a shutout game tonight with five strikeouts while allowing five hits. This is Lowrie’s third win of the season.
Tomorrow will decide the winner of the Round Rock series, with a beginning game time of 2:05 pm.
Bandits Tid-Bits: Tonight’s game drew a new record attendance for the NPF with a total of 5,427 screaming softball fans.