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VIERA, FL – The Akron Racers opened a four-game series at USSSA Space Coast Stadium on Friday in which they will play the USSSA Pride and the Beijing Shougang Eagles over the weekend, and despite a strong pitching performance from rookies Megan Betsa and Alexis Silkwood, lost to the host Pride 3-0 in the first game of the series.
Betsa started for the Racers (15-14) and allowed all three runs on four hits in three innings of work.  Silkwood entered the game in relief of Betsa and threw three shutout innings, in which she only allowed one hit, lowering her NPF-rookie best ERA to 2.28 in the process.
As good as the Racer pitchers were, they could not match Pride starter Jolene Henderson, who threw a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out five Akron batters.  Henderson and the Pride (21-6) recorded the last 14 outs on 14 hitters, including two base stealers thrown out by catcher Chelsea Goodacre.
Offensively for the Pride, left fielder Kirsti Merritt drove in all three runs in the game, going 1-for-3 at the plate.  In the bottom of the second inning, after Goodacre and Lauren Chamberlain walked and first baseman Hallie Wilson singled to left field to load the bases, Merritt put the Pride ahead with a groundout to Racer second baseman Ashley Thomas that scored Goodacre.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Merritt plated two insurance runs to expand the Pride lead.  After Wilson walked and Chamberlain doubled, Merritt scored both runners with a base hit to right-center field.
Offensively for the Racers, Thomas, Kristen Wyckoff and Sami Fagan each picked up hits spread throughout the game.
Akron is back in action Saturday evening, taking on the Eagles in the first game of a doubleheader.  First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. and Beijing will meet the Pride in the second game of the doubleheader.  Both games are available to stream on NPF TV.
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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