PEORIA, Ill. -- Senior Jackie Roth (Hickory Hills, Ill./Stagg) and sophomore Bailiegh Basham (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon/Lake Land C.C.) hit back-to-back solo homers in the bottom of the first inning, but Jayna Spivey's third-inning grand slam helped power Southern Illinois to an 11-5 victory against Bradley Sunday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park in the final game of the regular season for both teams.
After taking both games of Saturday's doubleheader, Bradley (21-29 overall, 11-15 MVC) appeared to be in control early on after the back-to-back homers by Roth, who was playing the final home game of her career, and Basham in the bottom of the first gave the Braves an early 2-0 lead.
Senior Lindsay Hufeld (Mapleton, Ill./Limestone/Illinois Central) started in the circle for the Braves and pitched around singles in each of the first two innings before Southern Illinois (34-19 overall, 16-10 MVC) ended a 10-inning scoreless streak with five runs in the top of the third.
A hit batter and single by Kelsea Ashton led to a run and the Salukis loaded the bases after another hit batter and Bradley error. The Braves got a force out at the plate for the second out of the inning and it appeared BU was going to get out of the inning with minimal damage when Spivey ripped a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left center to give SIU a 5-2 lead.
Southern Illinois added four more runs in the top of the fourth after a leadoff walk to Alicia Junker. Mallory Duran had a RBI double and later scored on a two-out single by Taylor Orsburn. A walk and hit batter loaded the bases again for Spivey, who reached on BU's second error of the game. Meredith Wilson capped the inning with a two-out single up the middle to push the Salukis advantage to 9-2.
SIU added two more runs in the top of the fifth on another run-scoring single by Orsburn and the Salukis lead stood at 11-2 after Mallory Duran scored on a fielder's choice.
Bradley threatened to climb back into the game in the bottom half of the inning, pushing three runs across before SIU pitcher Katie Bertelsen got out of a bases loaded jam to end the inning.
Sophomore Brianne Joseph (Post Falls, idaho/Post Falls) opened the Bradley portion of the fifth with a pinch-hit single and scored after back-to-back singles by senior Julie Sherman (Hickory Hills, Ill./Stagg) and Roth, respectively. Basham drew her team-leading 35th walk of the year and Sherman raced home on a wild pitch on the play. Roth later scored on a double play to cut the Southern Illinois lead to 11-5.
With the bases empty and two outs, Bradley kept the rally going after freshman Alyson Clemente (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) was hit by a pitch. Sophomore Alex Chandler (Needles, Calif./Needles) and senior Alison Kresl (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara) each drew walks to load the bases and knock reliever Alyssa Wunderlich out of the game.
After getting lifted from the game earlier in the inning, Berterlsen re-entered the circle for SIU and retired the first batter she faced to end the Bradley threat in the fifth. The Braves went down in order in the sixth and came up empty in the seventh after Basham was hit by a pitch to open the frame as Southern Illinois avoided the sweep with the 11-5 victory.
Hufeld took the loss for the Braves in her final home game, dropping to 2-2 on the year. Bertelsen improved to 12-11 for Southern Illinois, striking out five and walking one in six-and-one-third innings of work.
Bradley is the #7 seed for this week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, which will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Carbondale, Ill. The Braves will face #6 seed Missouri State Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the opening round with the winner advancing to face #3 seed Drake later that day at 6:30 p.m.