July 15, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Akron Racers
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.