Wednesday was not the night to be a Racers rookie pitcher.
Despite past successes against New York-New Jersey, Racers pitchers Ivy Renfroe and Rachele Fico struggled with the hot-hitting Comets in a 7-5 National Pro Fastpitch loss at Firestone Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Comets continued to look much better than their 7-29 record. Lefty Angel Bunner (2-7) threw a complete-game seven-hitter, striking out seven and walking five. She took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.
Comets shortstop Bianca Mejia had a stellar all-around game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Mejia also turned in three defensive gems.
“With these girls, everybody loves the game. Everybody has a passion for the game, and when you love something you are going to do everything you can, no matter what the score is,” Mejia said.
Trailing 4-0 through five innings on Tuesday, the Comets rallied for an 8-4 win.
“They are professionals. They are good people,” Comets coach Jay Nelson said about his team. “They’re going to play ball and give their best effort every time out.”
Renfroe (2-6) breezed through the first three innings, but the Comets struck for five runs in the top of the fourth. Angeline Quiocho singled and scored on a wild pitch. Courtney Liddle lined an RBI double to left-center and the Comets led 2-0.
Fico, Monday’s winning pitcher, came on for Renfroe and yielded a two-out, three-run homer to Comet second baseman Samie Garcia, running the score to 5-0.
Mejia ripped a double to right and scored in the fifth for a 6-0 lead.
The Racers (13-22) finally got to Bunner late in the game and mounted a comeback. First-year left fielder Brianna Turang had two RBI singles. Catcher Jessica Garcia added a run-scoring single and second baseman Tess Sito’s infield single scored Garcia.
“Most girls in the league are All-Americans coming out of college,” Turang said. “They are the best of the best and regardless of fourth- or first-place [team in the NPF], everyone is going to fight until the end.”
Sito scored on a passed ball to bring the Racers to within 7-5, but center fielder Taylor Schlopy lined to deep left field to end a four-run uprising in the sixth.
“Bunner did a good job of keeping us off balance early, but once our offense got going we were hitting her well,” Racers manager Ryan Phillips said. “We just needed to come up with a couple of key hits.”
Racers top pitcher Lisa Norris (4-4, 1.23 ERA) was sidelined with a boot on her right foot. The Racers open a four-game home series Friday against the Florida USSSA Pride.