Lisle, Ill.-- The Chicago Bandits pushed their consecutive scoreless innings streak to 24,in the process of winning their ninth game of the year in a 1-0 victory over the Chinese National Team. Jennie Finch provided the home teams only run with a fourth inning homer, and pitcher Lauren Bay went the distance striking out eight.
After Bay retired the side in the first, she allowed designated player An Zhongxin to double over the head of Chicago centerfielder Megan Ciolli in the second.
After Shao Jing replaced Zhongxin on second as a pinch runner, Li Chunxia flew out to Bandit right fielder Anne Steffan. Jing, running on the pitch, had already passed third when she realized that the ball had been caught, prompting her to race back to second as Steffan attempted to execute the double play. Steffans throw escaped Bandits shortstop Jaime Clark, but left fielder Laura Harms prevented Jing from moving up, cutting off the play down the third base line.
Bay walked the next batter, second baseman Sun Li, and went full on center fielder Zhang Lifang, before striking her out to end the inning.
The Canadian National Team pitcher, Bay finished the game with eight strikeouts, allowing only six hits.
In the bottom half of the inning, Clark singled and stole second with two outs. Up next, designated player Jennie Finch defied the wind blowing in from left, and hit a shot that barely stayed in the glove of left fielder Miao Ruiying which had extend past the outfield fence, to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Chinese catcher Pan Xia and first baseman Yu Yanhong recorded back-to-back one-out hits, amidst a handful of Bandit throwing miscues. However, the errant throws did not amount to any Chinese runs.
In the top of the fourth, the Chinese National team again put runners on base, and as the Bandits were bailed out by Chinese interference on Thursday, an unusual play worked in the home teams favor on Saturday. After Li singled with two outs in the fourth, Lifang came up and reached on an error by Clark. However, after time had been called, Bandit Co-Head Coach Eugene Lenti approached the umpire, voicing a lineup card discrepancy. The Chinese coaching staff had Lifang listed as No. 24, however, her jersey adorned a No. 14, which is a violation. Due to the clerical inaccuracy, Clarks error was erased and catcher Selena Collins was awarded the putout, ending the inning.
To lead off the home half of the fourth, Clark came to bat looking to make up for her negated error. The University of Washington grad ripped a line shot to the warning track in the deepest part of the park, that was caught by right fielder Jiang Xin.
Finch followed Clark to the plate, and after being robbed on her previous trip, hit a towering fly off the end of her pink-highlighted bat. The shot looked almost identical to Finchs first fly out, however, her fourth inning bomb carried just a little bit further and bounced off the out stretched glove of Ruiying and careened over the fence for the former Arizona All-Americans third homer of the season, giving the home team a 1-0 lead.
Ciolli singled in the fifth to earn her ninth hit of the season, but was thrown out at second as she attempted to steal the base.
The Chinese National Team was unable to match the Bandits as they only produced one base runner after the fourth.
Lauren Bay earned her fifth victory of the season to move her into a tie for the league's lead. Her eight strikeouts take her season total to 38, second most in the NPF.
The Bandits and Chinese National Team will conclude their series on Sunday at 12:00 noon. Call 1-877-7BANDIT or Ticketmaster for all Chicago Bandits ticket needs.
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