Lisle, Ill.,---The USA Softball World University team came back from a four run deficit on Sunday to defeat the Chicago Bandits, 6-4, and win the exhibition series with a 3-1 record. The Bandits, who are the top team in the National Pro Fastpitch League (NPF), falls to 23-7 on the season while the USA World University squad ends their season with an 8-4 record including a gold medal at the World University Championships in Taiwan earlier this month.
The Bandits jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when Anne Steffan reached on an infield single and scored on a two run blast to left center by Stacy May.
The lead would be short lived as the Red, White and Blue exploded for five runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. After only producing two hits in the first three innings, the U.S. rapped four hits that produced five unearned runs in the inning. Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif.) led things off by reaching on an error and Samantha Findlay (Lockport, Ill.) reached after being hit by a hitch. A single by Lindsay Schutzler (Monterey, Calif.) scored Fox and moved Jackie Rhinehart (Reno, Nev.) who entered to pinch-run for Findlay, to second.
With two outs in the inning, Rhinehart and Schutzler executed a double steal to advance into scoring position for Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) who came through with a single to left center to score both runners and give the U.S. a 3-2 advantage. A triple by Norrelle Dickson (Orange, Calif.) scored Lappin and a single by Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn.) provided the U.S. with its final run of the inning.
The Bandits chipped away at the USA lead, scoring a run in the fourth and fifth innings to reduce the deficit to 5-4. In the fourth with U.S. reliever Brianne McGowan (Reno, Nev.) on the mound, Chicago took advantage of two costly errors by U.S. infielders to plate their third run of the game. Banditsí right fielder Trena Peel reached on an error by Fox and advanced to second on a single by Amanda Williams. A groundout by catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest advanced Peel to third and an error by Findlay allowed her to score.
Selena Collins ripped a two out double in the bottom of the fifth and pinch runner Jessica Williams scored on a single by Peel to right field to bring the Bandits to within one run.
The USA added a big insurance run in the top of the seventh inning thanks to back to back errors by Bandits reliever Amy Harre. With two outs in the inning, Tina Boutelle (Katy, Texas) reached on a throwing error by Harre that allowed her to move on to second. Schutzler then reached on an identical play when Harre made another errant throw that allowed Boutelle to score.
Schutzler and Fekete led the USA offensively with 2-for-4 efforts at the plate while Lappin was the RBI leader with two. Katie Burkhart (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) improved to 2-0 in the series after earning the win in two innings of relief.
Courtney Bures (Haymarket, Va.) led the USA offensively during the series with a .600 (3-for-5) average while Kaitlin Cochran (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Schutzler shared the RBI lead with three apiece.
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