CHICAGO—Moral victories aren’t what the Cleveland Comets are after in 2018 but that’s what they settled for in a 6-2 loss at Chicago on Saturday at the Ballpark in Rosemont.
Chloe Miller’s single to center field in the top of the sixth inning scored pinch runner Yan Siyu, giving the Comets their first run scored in three games.
“Chloe getting that first RBI, I think that’s big,” said Cleveland coach Charlotte Morgan. “You’ve got to celebrate the little things. That’s what the first part of the season is; you can’t expect all of the big victories right away, especially being a new franchise. We have to keep growing and take the little things and keep getting better.”
The Comets have shown improvement in each of their first three games.
They opened the season with just two hits on Thursday and came back on Friday with four. On Saturday, seven different Cleveland hitters recorded a hit.
“I thought it was huge, especially the way Chicago has been bringing in four pitchers per game so you’re not able to make adjustments on one pitcher and you’re having a new at-bat continuously,” Morgan said. “Our strikeouts went down and our quality at-bats went up and we’re putting the ball in play a lot more.”
Randi Rupp became the third straight rookie to start a game in the circle for the Comets this season.
She allowed five runs—four earned—and nine hits and struck out three.
“She did a great job,” Morgan said. “If we make a few plays behind her it’s a different ball game. Overall, I thought she did a good job. She’s adjusting to the league and the turf. She kept her composure and competed the whole game.”
Rupp became the first Comets pitcher to retire the Bandits in order in the first inning and she nearly made it through the first two without allowing a baserunner but Natalie Hernandez tripled off the center field fence with two outs.
Rupp struck out the next Chicago hitter to end that threat.
Chicago struck for three runs in the bottom of the third, all with two outs.
After a popup and a groundout, Brenna Moss singled and stole second. Emily Crane’s swinging bunt rolled slowly to first base. The Comets attempted to let the ball roll foul, which allowed Moss to score from second.
Courtney Gano then tripled and Nadia Taylor singled to make it 3-0. Taylor doubled home two runs in the fifth to extend that lead to 5-0.
“It feels good to get that first one under my belt and move on and keep getting better and kind of learn from tonight,” Rupp said of her professional debut. “The defense did a great job of picking me up and making sure that I was staying big out there. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I’m getting this opportunity.”
Jade Rhodes singled to start the Cleveland sixth and was replaced by Yan Siyu, who moved to second on Sun Xun’s groundout. Miller then roped the second pitch to center to cut Chicago’s lead to 5-1.
Xie Yue reached safely on a fielder’s choice and Cao Yang hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score the second run.
“It was actually pretty cool because it was my first hit as a pro athlete,” Miller said of her historic RBI single. “It felt good to just get a run on the board and (Cao Yang) coming up after me and getting that second run was pretty huge. It’s opening a door and hopefully, we can go with it.”
Ping Fan pitched the sixth for the Comets. She allowed one run on three hits.
Shellie Robinson, Yuan Huaining, Alexa Peterson, Xie Yue and Sun Xun also had hits for the Comets.
Peterson’s first-inning double was the first extra-base hit in Comets history.
The Comets close out their four-game series at Chicago on Sunday.