It was a thrilling, come-from-behind victory for the Bandits in the team’s home opener against the Akron Racers. The Bandits rallied from down 5-1 to defeat the Racers 6-5 in eight innings. With the victory, the Bandits maintained their undefeated mark to start the 2015 campaign and are now 4-0 on the season.
photo by Katie Kirker
After jumping ahead 1-0 early on a solo home run to center by Taylor Edwards (2-for-3, HR), Bandits starting pitcher Kirsten Verdun (ND, 3.2 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 H, 0 K) ran into some trouble. Behind the strength of a pair of fourth-inning home runs from Nerissa Meyers (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) and Kailee Cuico (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), Akron burst ahead 4-1 and added a run in the next inning to increase their advantage. Racers starter, seven-time All-NPF selection Sarah Pauly (ND, 7.0 IP, 5 R, 5 ER, 6 H, 3 K), who was acquired by Akron from the Pennsylvania Rebellion in the offseason, shut down the Bandits for the first five innings. She had surrendered just one run on two hits before the Bandits made a furious comeback starting in the sixth inning.
In the sixth, 2014 NPF Home Run Champion Brittany Cervantes (1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI) smacked a two-out, three-run shot onto the party deck in left to bring the Bandits within a single run. Much like Edwards’ home run earlier in the game, it was Cervantes’ first of the season.
However, the Bandits still trailed 5-4 and needed a run in the final inning to send the game into extras. Amber Patton (1-for-3, 3B) led off the seventh in a big way for the Bandits, taking a first-pitch fastball to the left field corner for a triple. Nine-hole hitter Emily Allard (1-for-3, 2B, RBI) later tied the game with an RBI-double.
In extras, eventual winning pitcher Tatum Edwards (W, 2-0) shut down the Racers in the top half of the inning, and the Bandits took advantage of a leadoff single from Tammy Williams (1-for-4, 2 R) to win it. After another single and an intentional walk, the bases were loaded for rookie Megan Blank, who was signed by the Bandits via open tryouts. Blank lined one sharply to Racers’ second baseman Ashley Thomas, who made the play and tried to dive back to second for another out. However, Williams used some heads-up baserunning and scooted home for the winning run amidst all the chaos. For the Racers, Laura Winter (0-1) was settled with the loss.
The Bandits and Racers will continue their series tomorrow in the second of a three-game set. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m. CT.
Tickets for all 2015 Bandits games are on sale now. For more information about the Chicago Bandits, or to purchase tickets, visit www.chicagobandits.com.
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