July 20, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Akron Racers
SAN MARCOS, TX - Needing to mount a comeback and still looking for their first hit in the top of the seventh inning, the Akron Racers rallied behind the powerful bat of first baseman Sam Fischer-Cooke to defeat the Texas Charge 5-3 in eight innings, in Akron's first extra inning game of the season. Fischer-Cooke went 2-for-4 and drove in all five RBI for the Racers.
Charge (16-17) pitcher Dallas Escobedo carried a no-hitter through six innings and Texas scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 3-0 advantage into the final frame. Racer (18-16) centerfielder A.J. Andrews led off the inning with her team's first hit of the game, smacking a single through the right side of the infield. After designated player Jennifer Gilbert earned a one-out walk, Fischer-Cooke stepped to the plate representing the game's tying run. Fischer-Cooke, who had struck out in her two previous at bats, jumped on a 1-0 offering from Escobedo and blasted the ball over the left field fence, also plating Gilbert and Andrews to tie the game 3-3.
After Akron pitcher Aimee Creger worked a shutout bottom of the seventh inning, the Racer offense continued to attack in the top of the eighth inning. Left fielder Kristen Wyckoff led off the inning by striking out, but dashed to first base on a dropped third strike. Andrews and pinch hitter Maddy Grimm followed Wyckoff with walks, loading the bases for Fischer-Cooke. The second-year slugger came through for Akron once again, ripping a base hit back up the middle to score Wyckoff and Andrews to put the Racers ahead 5-3.
Akron fended off a comeback attempt by the Charge in the bottom of the eighth inning. Bailey Landry started the rally with a single to shallow left field and Alisa Goler reached on a fielding error by Fischer-Cooke that put runners on the corners and brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate with two outs. The Racers replaced Creger with pitcher Rachele Fico, who promptly struck out Nadia Taylor to end the game and earn her first save of the season. Creger earned her first win of the season, allowing one run on three hits in two and two-thirds innings pitched.
Texas broke up a scoreless pitcher's duel between Escobedo and Akron starter Emily Weiman in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Koral Costa and Landry each picked up base hits through the right side, the Racers called for Creger out of the bullpen. The Charge broke the tie when Goler hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Costa. Nadia Taylor followed Goler and hit a two-run home run that also scored Ruby Rivera to put Texas ahead 3-0.
Weiman scattered seven hits through five innings pitched, allowing two runs, while striking out six hitters. Escobedo threw a complete game, allowing five runs, three earned, on four hits and four walks, while striking out 12 hitters.
The Racers and Charge will meet in the rubber match of their three-game series Thursday night in Sugar Land, Texas, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. The game will be streamed on NPF TV. Akron will return home to Firestone Stadium on Tuesday, July 25 for the start of a four-game series with the USSSA Pride.