ROSEMONT, Ill. – Behind strong pitching from Sara Groenewegen and Alexis Silkwood and timely hitting, the Akron Racers completed a two-game sweep of the Chicago Bandits, winning 4-2 in an afternoon Fourth of July matchup.  The Racers have now won three straight games against Chicago and five of their last six games overall.
After the Bandits grabbed an early lead on a Natalie Hernandez RBI single that scored Emily Carosone in the bottom of the first inning, Akron came roaring back with a big fourth inning.  Sami Fagan singled and Shellie Robinson drew a two-out walk to set the stage for Jennifer Gilbert.  The Racer right fielder shot the ball into right field and flew into third base for a two-run triple that scored Fagan and Robinson to give Akron a 2-1 lead.  Kelley Montalvo followed with a base hit between first and second base, plating Gilbert to cap the three-run inning.
Chicago got a run back in the bottom of the fifth inning when Hernandez brought home Carosone again, this time on a sacrifice fly.  The Racers would get the run back in the top of the sixth inning, as Robinson led off the inning with a double to right field.  Two batters later Nicole Schroeder hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Robinson.
The Bandits got the leadoff hitter on base in both the sixth and seventh innings, bringing the tying run to the plate in each frame, but Silkwood, who entered the game in the fifth inning, worked three quick outs in each inning to hold Chicago off the board.  Groenewegen earned the win, limiting the Bandits to two runs on seven hits in four and one-third innings pitched.  Silkwood recorded her second save of the season, throwing two and two-third scoreless innings.
The Bandits wore USA-themed jerseys for the second consecutive game in honor of their Fourth of July matchup against the Racers. The jerseys were auctioned off over the course of the two-game series with all proceeds benefitting Salute Inc., an organization whose goal is to help provide assistance to veterans.
The Racers and Chicago will both return to Akron for their final meeting of the 2017 regular season, a two-game series this Friday and Saturday evenings.  Both games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. start time.  For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Racers ticket office at 330-376-8188.
Quick Facts:
Attendance: 469
Time of game: 2:12 
Vaultz® Lock It Up!® Player of the Game: Jennifer Gilbert (AKR) - 1-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI
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.

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