The Chicago Bandits faltered in the opener of a two-game home series against the Akron Racers on Monday night at The Ballpark at Rosemont, dropping game one by a 12-7 final. Down big in the early innings, the Bandits mounted multiple comeback efforts, but ultimately could not overcome the relentless offensive attack from Akron.
The Racers took a quick 4-0 lead before Bandits' starter Haylie Wagner could record the first out of the game. Shellie Robinson's grand slam to right proved to be an early blow. The game soon entered a rain delay, which lasted 32 minutes.
"I never thought at any moment that we couldn't come back and win it," Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. "I don't think the [rain delay] affected them. I think this team knows how to fight."
Wagner responded well to the early halt in the action, bouncing back to retire the next three batters in order with a pair of strikeouts.
Akron soon made it 5-0 in the second frame when Sam Fischer launched a solo shot to the party deck in left field. Fischer finished 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI in the contest.
The Racers' lead grew to 6-0 before Chicago came roaring back in the bottom half of the third, knocking Akron starter Emily Weiman out of the circle in the process. With two outs and Abby Ramirez aboard, Brenna Moss blasted a triple into the right-center gap to plate to put the Bandits on the board.
Chicago tacked on five runs in the inning thanks to timely two-out hitting. All five runs came with two outs, including a two-RBI single off the bat of Natalie Hernandez and a bases-loaded walk issued to Sahvanna Jaquish.
"[My approach was to] see the ball, make sure that it's a strike and then hit it," Hernandez said. "Don't overthink."
Akron added two runs in the sixth, only to be matched by a pair for the Bandits in the same frame. Brenna Moss reached on an error by Fischer, allowing both runs to score to bring the deficit within one run again.
A comeback wasn't in the cards, however, as the Racers scored four insurance runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Fischer's second long ball of the game, a three-run shot, effectively sealed the win for Akron.
Shelby Turnier (2.2 innings pitched) and Breanna Wonderly (1.1 innings pitched) logged relief work for the Bandits.