Bandits roll to 17th straight win
MANKATO, Minn. -- The Chicago Bandits continued their early-season roll on the road, topping the Beijing Shougang Eagles in both games of a doubleheader Friday at Caswell Park in Mankato, Minnesota.
Rachele Fico earned her second win in as many starts after tossing four strong innings of work in an 8-2 victory in the opener. The former Akron Racers standout scattered three hits and struck out five in an impressive performance before giving way to Lacey Waldrop out of the bullpen.
Waldrop collected the save, her second of the season, by delivering a three-inning shutdown effort in relief. The fourth-year pro fanned four and did not allow a baserunner.
The two right-handers were backed by plenty of offensive support in Game 1 as a pair of home runs from second baseman Emily Carosone and catcher Kristyn Sandberg powered the attack.
Carosone's 2-run blast, her league-leading sixth of the season, extended the Bandits' lead to 5-2 late in the game. Sandberg's line-drive shot put it out of reach and added an exclamation point to a five-run sixth inning.
Sandberg entered a tie for second place in the NPF with her fifth home run of the season.
The momentum continued into the back half of the twin bill as a combined 3-0 shutout between Danielle O'Toole, Shelby Turnier and Minnesota State -- Mankato product Coley Ries guided the Bandits to their 17th consecutive win to kick off the 2018 season.
O'Toole worked the first three innings in her first start since June 2. She struck out five and surrendered just 3 hits to capture Vaultz Lock It Up! Player of the Game honors.
Turnier and Ries followed with strong efforts in relief to complete the shutout. Turnier earned her second victory of the season while Ries added her first career save.
Nadia Taylor provided the offensive spark for the Bandits after uncorking a solo shot to center in the third.
The Bandits will conclude their five-game series against the Eagles at 8 p.m. Sunday at Caswell Park before shifting their attention to Viera, Florida, for a three-game road tilt against the undefeated USSSA Pride.