Rookie Lindsey Bashor doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Akron rallied to defeat the California Sunbirds, 10-5, in a wild game Friday evening at Firestone Stadium.
The Racers won their 15th straight game and improved to 17-1. Akron leads the second-place Chicago Bandits (16-2) in the NPF standings. The Sunbirds, this year playing as a women's open club team, slipped to 0-10.
After California jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, Racer third baseman Crystl Bustos launched her ninth home run of the season, a solo shot, down the left field line. In the second inning, Bashor cranked a two-run blast to left center to give Akron a 3-2 lead.
The Racers appeared to have things under control, scoring one in the third and one more in the fourth for a 5-2 advantage. But California had other ideas.
The Sunbirds struck for three runs in the top of the fifth against Racers starter Brandee McArthur. The big blow was a two-run homer to straight-away center field off the bat of first baseman Garland Cooper, a sophomore All-American from Northwestern University. Coopers blast pulled California even at five-all.
On the home run, Akron center fielder Iyhia McMichael gave chase and ran through the temporary fence. McMichael stayed in the game at first, but then was replaced by Olympian Kelly Kretschman. The 2004 NPF Most Valuable Player is questionable for tomorrows 1:05 start with California.
Bashor led off the bottom half of the fifth with a double to left. She scored and Tobin Echo-Hawk reached second base on a throwing error by Sunbird second baseman Brittany Vanderink. Jenny Toppings two-out, two-run double plated Echo-Hawk and Kretschman and gave Akron an 8-5 edge.
Kretschman added a two-run single in the sixth to close out the scoring.
McArthur worked five innings and picked up the win to go to 6-0. Radara McHugh tossed the final two frames and earned her second save. Laura Severson took the loss for California.
Akron pounded a season-high 16 hits with seven players hitting safely twice. The Racers scored in each inning and capitalized on Sunbird miscues to score four unearned runs.