Orlando, Fla. — Florida Pride center fielder Caitlin Lowe raced back towards the centerfield wall, tracking a blast off the bat of Bandits pitcher Nikki Nemitz. Lowe crashed through the fence as the ball hit her glove but could not come up with the ball as Nemitz put the Bandits up 2-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
Nemitz and the Bandits would hold on to close out the Pride 2-1 in the Sunday matinee for her second win and the teams second win of the season.
After a line drive single up the middle, a stolen base and passed ball, Bandits outfielder Amber Patton sat poised at third base ready to take home. Patton was stranded at third however as Danielle Spaulding forced the final out.
The Pride quickly added their own offensive threat after two singles by Natasha Watley and Caitlin Lowe put runners on second and third against Bandits pitcher Taryne Mowatt. Mowatt forced a line drive out to third by Mowatt and a pop fly by Samantha Findlay. Findlay’s blast however went deep enough into left field, allowing Watley to score on the sacrifice fly by Findlay for the 1-0 lead.
Bandits rookie Alisa Goler quickly countered the Pride’s offense with a blast of her own, over the centerfield wall to tie the game at 1-1. The home run by Goler is the first regular season home run of the year for Chicago after an unusually dry, three-game home run drought from the team that featured the 2010 MVP, home run leaders and Offensive MVP.
Mowatt and Spaulding both settled down in the circle for the third inning into the top of the fourth, allowing no hits or runs respectively. In the bottom of the fourth, Kelly Kretschman and Andrea Duran drew back-to-back walks to put two on for the Pride. Mowatt was replaced in the circle by lefty Nikki Nemitz who stepped in to face Tonya Callahan with two down and two on.
Nemitz relieved Mowatt of the threat, getting Callahan to fly out to end the inning.
Mowatt finished the game with 3.2 innings pitched, three walks, two hits and one run in her first regular season start as a member of the Bandits.
Stepping up to bat in the top of the fifth, Nemitz immediately helped her cause in the circle with a solo home run to centerfield for the 2-1 Bandits lead. Florida Pride outfielder Lowe crashed through the fence on the play but could not come up with the ball as she landed.
After a scoreless bottom half of the fifth, Jamee Juarez threatened to score again for Chicago in the top of the sixth with Caitlin Lever on first base. Juarez sent a high pop fly to left field, but was robbed at the wall as Pride outfielder Jessica Mendoza snagged the ball at the wall and held on despite going through the fence.
Florida quickly jumped on the base paths in the bottom of the sixth when Mendoza drew a walk after getting plunked by Nemitz. Samantha Findlay singled to the right side and reached base safely on the play when Bandits second baseman Danielle Zymkowitz made an error on the play at second base.
With two on and nobody out, Florida’s Kretschman drew her own walk to load the bases for the Pride. A quick 5-2-3 double play by Goler, Folden and Juarez put two outs on the board for the Pride. Nemitz escaped the threat with solid defensive work as Kristen Shifflett threw out Florida’s Natasha Watley at first to end the inning.
At the top of the seventh, Florida brought Cat Osterman in to pitch, hoping to keep the Bandits at just a 2-1 lead. Spaulding exited the game with 6.0 innings pitched, three hits, four strikeouts and two runs.
Nemitz continued her hot day, getting a single off Cat Osterman with one out in the top of the seventh. Her pinch runner, Christine Knauer, was stranded however as Osterman forced the Bandits final two outs.
The 2010 Rookie of the Year held tough through the seventh inning, getting her second win of the season in a 2-1 Bandits win.
Nemitz finished the game with three innings pitched, one strikeout, two hits and one walk.