Jeff Brewer

The Akron Racers did not have to wait long for something positive to happen Saturday night.

Looking to snap a four-game losing streak, the Racers made a fast start against the Pennsylvania Rebellion, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruising to a 9-2 National Pro Fastpitch win at Firestone Stadium.

“We talked about jumping on them early and carrying that momentum through the game, and hopefully the rest of the series,” Racers manager Brian Levin said.

The Racers and Rebellion play again at 2:05 p.m. today.

Former Oregon star Kailee Cuico, making her Firestone Stadium debut, belted her first professional home run and was 2-for-4 at the plate for the Racers.

“I felt it get off the bat, and it went up and I was like, ‘Oh, it’s really high, but is it going to make it?’?” said Cuico, the Ducks’ career leader in home runs (46) and RBI (180) and a dominant run producer in Oregon’s march to the 2014 Women’s College World Series. “Once I saw it go over [the fence], I was really excited.”

Racers right-hander Rachele Fico (5-3) worked the first four innings, yielding two hits, one walk and one hit by pitch, and striking out one. Lefty Hannah Campbell got the last nine outs and earned a save.

“We were high energy and we scored early,” Fico said. “It was a great team effort. Everyone did their part. We are going to use our entire pitching staff. We have a lot of depth.”

The Rebellion (3-12) had a defensive meltdown in the first inning, and the Racers, after dropping four straight to the USSSA Pride in Dallas, Texas, were glad to cash in four unearned runs.

Cuico and center fielder Taylor Schlopy singled and scored for the Racers in the inning. Third baseman Kelley Montalvo also delivered a two-run single.

“This was exactly what we needed, coming back after a hard weekend,” said Montalvo, who batted 5-for-10 against the Pride. “We were motivated. We were hungry. We were ready to come out and play in front of a great crowd at home.”

The Rebellion got on the board in the fourth when designated player Courtney Liddle cracked a two-run homer to left-center field.

The Racers (8-9) matched the Rebellion with two in the bottom half of the inning to extend their lead to 6-2. Catcher Jessica Garcia doubled to center and scored, and second baseman Ashley Thomas slapped a single to left and scored.

Right fielder Ayumi Karino hit a laser toward Pennsylvania first baseman Briana Hamilton, who was expecting a slap or bunt, and then got her glove up in self-defense.

Karino and shortstop Nerissa Myers each had an RBI in the uprising.

Cuico blasted a towering home run down the left-field line to lead off the fifth inning, making it 7-2. Karino then hit a two-run double into the left-center gap.

“[Cuico] is an exciting player,” Levin said. “She has a lot of power, and I can put her in that four spot to protect Charlotte Morgan. If they pitch around Charlotte, then they have to deal with Kailee. She is a great addition to our team.”

Morgan was back in the lineup after a dislocated shoulder kept her sidelined for 14 games.

Rookie left fielder Jill Barrett was 3-for-4 for the Racers.

Sarah Pauly (2-5) worked the first four innings for the Rebellion and took the loss.