VIERA, FL – The Akron Racers used their deep pitching staff to limit the potent offense of the USSSA Pride, but the Pride took the series finale 3-1 at USSSA Space Coast Stadium Saturday evening. The Pride won the three-game series 2-1.
The Racers (2-4) got on the scoreboard first for the second straight night in the top of the second inning when left fielder Alex Hugo and first baseman Sam Fischer led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Hugo scored on a groundout by starting pitcher Sara Groenewegen to put Akron ahead 1-0.
After Groenewegen retired five of the first seven hitters she faced, the Pride answered back in the bottom of the second inning when, with two outs, Chelsea Goodacre hit a solo home run to tie the game. In the next inning, the Pride went ahead on a Lauren Chamberlain sacrifice fly that scored Kelly Kretschman, who led off the inning with a double to left field.
Fellow rookie pitcher Alexis Silkwood entered the game for Groenewegen in the bottom of the fourth inning to complete a scoreless inning by recording the final out. Former Michigan ace Megan Betsa relieved Silkwood and threw a shutout fifth inning to keep the Racer offense in position to attempt a comeback.
The Pride would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when a Megan Wiggins double brought home Kirsti Merritt. Veteran pitcher Emily Weiman picked up the final out of the sixth inning for Akron. Pride reliever Keilani Ricketts ended the game when she shut down the Racers in order, for the third straight inning.
In addition to Hugo’s single and run scored, the Racers got two hits from Fischer to lead the offensive attack.
The Racers will continue their season opening road trip with a three-game series against the Scrap Yard Dawgs in The Woodlands, Texas beginning on Tuesday, June 13 with first pitch for all three games set for 8:05 p.m. ET.
Tickets are on sale for the Racers 2017 home season at Firestone Stadium, which begins with opening week June 21 through July 2. The Racers begin the home season against the NPF’s newest team the Beijing Shougang Eagles from China. Tickets are also on sale for a special showing of Burn the Ships, the feature-length documentary on a year in the life of the Akron Racers. There will be two showings at the Akron-Summit County Public Library at 6:00 pm and 8:15 pm on Tuesday, June 20. There will also be a player meet and greet with the 2017 Akron Racers between the two showings. Call the Akron Racers box office at 330-376-8188 for more ticket information for both Racer games and the Burn the Ships showings.
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.