June 14, 2017 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Akron Racers
THE WOODLANDS, TX - The Akron Racers kicked off their three-game series at the Scrap Yard Complex with an outpouring of offense, led by rookie Kristen Wyckoff, to defeat the Scrap Yard Dawgs 9-3 on Tuesday night. The Racer offense exploded for five runs in the top of the sixth inning to secure the win.
After clinging to a 4-3 lead heading into the top of the sixth inning, Akron blew things wide open with four sixth-inning hits, resulting in five runs. The Racers amassed nine hits on the night.
The Dawgs' defense fell apart in the final two innings of the game, committing three errors. To start the top of the sixth inning, Akron's Kelley Montalvo launched a ball to dead centerfield to extend the lead to 5-3. In the inning, two Dawgs fielding errors that resulted in Racers runs. Haley Fagan singled to right for an RBI, scoring Chandler Rice. Sami Fagan also singled to right in the inning for two RBI. Sami Fagan and Wyckoff had two RBI apiece in the game for Akron.
Akron's offense never really let off the gas, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Sam Fischer singled to left to open the frame. Dawgs pitcher Miranda Kramer awarded walks to Shellie Robinson and Montalvo to load the bases for Griffin Joiner. Joiner took advantage and her bloop single scored Fischer for the first run of the game. A.J. Andrews hit a foul ball to left field for a sacrifice fly that scored Robinson. But the Racers weren't done. Sami Fagan's base hit to right scored Montalvo for the third run of the inning and her second RBI of the season.
The Dawgs responded in the bottom half of the second inning with a run of their own. M.J. Knighten got the infield single in her first start of her NPF career. Christian Stokes reached after her ground ball was bobbled by Akron second baseman Ashley Thomas. After Kayla Winkfield laid down a gorgeous bunt to reach, Allexis Bennett's fly ball scored Kiki Stokes - who came in as a courtesy runner for Knighten. Bennett - a UCLA product - has been a bright spot at the top of the order for the Dawgs, hitting .563 thus far in the young season. The Corona, Calif. native went 3-for-3 on the night for the Dawgs.
Britt Vonk kept up the hot bat against the Racers. The Enschede, Holland native ripped a ball into the left center gap to score Myers and Brittany Cervantes - who both drew walks to reach base. Vonk now has six RBIs in six games. The hit tied the game in the bottom of the third at 3-3.
The Racers took its second and final lead of the game in the top of the fifth. Wyckoff's line shot to left field just missed the outstretched glove of Kayla Winkfield. Wyckoff's speed did the rest for the inside-the-park home run to take a 4-3 lead.
The Dawgs had a shot to tie it up in the bottom of the fifth when Taylor Edwards singled with a line shot to left. But with the hit and run on, pinch runner Olivia Watkins was doubled off after a line drive to third base by Brittany Cervantes. The Dawgs couldn't get much going offensively after that, leaving five runners on base in the game.
After Akron starting pitcher Megan Betsa exited in the bottom of the third inning, Alexis Silkwood kept the Dawgs off balance for the four innings, allowing no runs on three hits and striking out three in grabbing the victory. Aimee Creger came on to finish the game in the sixth inning with 1.1 hitless innings. Kramer took the loss for the Dawgs, allowing four runs off of five hits. The Western Kentucky product struck out and walked three.
The Dawgs and Racers square off again in the second of the three-game series on Wednesday at the Scrap Yard. First pitch is at 8:05 ET.