With Monica Abbott in the circle for the Scrap Yard Dawgs, the Bandits went down on three strikeouts in the bottom half of the first. Unfortunately, for Chicago, it became a common theme throughout Tuesday's series opener at The Ballpark at Rosemont.
Abbott had plenty of support to work behind as the Dawgs struck for eight runs in the first three innings. Former Bandit Taylor Edwards, who helped the team capture Cowles Cup titles in 2015 and 2016, haunted her former club at the plate. An RBI-double in the first inning put the Dawgs ahead and Edwards later added a three-run home run to extend the lead to 7-0 at the time.
Edwards received her 2016 championship ring prior to the day game, as did former Bandits Brittany Cervantes, Morgan Foley and coach Mike Steuerwald, now the assistant general manager for the Dawgs.
Chicago starter Danielle O'Toole, who tossed five shutout innings against Scrap Yard in her NPF debut on July 16, did not have the same success in her first start in Rosemont. The southpaw from Arizona surrendered five runs (four earned) in 1.1 innings of work.
Ellen Sara Roberts struggled in a relief effort as well as the Dawgs tagged her for a trio of runs in 1.1 innings.
Rookie right-hander Sierra Hyland stopped the bleeding for Chicago and delivered four shutout frames, allowing the Bandits to creep back into the ballgame. A solo home run from Sahvanna Jaquish, her third of the season, put the Bandits on the board in the fourth and a an RBI-single off the bat of Stacy May-Johnson brought in a second run. Two more came across to score via a wild pitch.
However, the comeback fell short, as Abbott earned a complete game despite allowing 4 runs (three earned). The electric southpaw registered 15 strikeouts in the contest.
Little went right for the Bandits in the back half of the doubleheader, as well. The Dawgs offense proved too much for Chicago en route to a 9-0 win, claiming the series in the process.
"We didn't play very good at all, really on any phase," Bandits head coach Sharonda McDonald said. "I'm just telling our team we have to be better on all phases of the ball. We have got to be better, bottom line."
Chicago's pitchers couldn't maneuver around a powerful Dawgs lineup, namely rookie Hannah Flippen, who collected a 3-for-3 afternoon with a solo home run and three runs scored.
Shelby Turnier, who started in the circle for the Bandits delivered a scoreless first frame, but allowed the home run to Flippen and two more tallies in the third as the Dawgs' lead grew. Haylie Wagner didn't have much more luck in a relief effort, allowing four runs in 0.2 innings.
O'Toole later returned for her second appearance of the day and surrendered two runs in 3.2 frames.
"Obviously we didn't have the day we wanted to," O'Toole said. "Now it's behind us and you've got to look forward."
O'Toole faced a number of Team USA teammates on Tuesday, including Flippen, Ali Aguilar, Kasey Cooper and Morgan Zerkle. The rookie southpaw also pitched against former Arizona teammate Katiyana Mauga.
"It's different," O'Toole said. "Teammates have become really close friends."
The Bandits will look to get on the right track Wednesday night in the series finale against the Dawgs. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.