NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State blanked Bradley 5-0 in the opener and used a seven-run fifth inning to break open a tie game and take the nightcap 8-3 as the Redbirds swept a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader from the Braves Thursday afternoon at Marian Kneer Stadium.
In the opener, Illinois State (20-15 overall, 5-3 MVC) capitalized on a leadoff walk and a pair of hit batters in the top of the first inning, to push two runs across on a single to center by Shelby Music to take an early 2-0 lead.
Bradley (20-17 overall, 5-5 MVC) stranded a runner at third in the top of the second and the Redbirds took advantage of a BU error to open the bottom of the third. Laura Canopy made the Braves pay for the miscue, following with a two-run homer to right center to push the ISU advantage to 4-0.
A two-out single in the bottom of the fourth by Jhavon Hamilton led to another Illinois State run as the Redbirds took a 5-0 lead into the late innings.
Junior Madeline Lynch-Crumrine (Sedro-Woolley, Wash./Sedro-Woolley) led off the top of the sixth with a double, but was just the second Bradley base runner to reach third base and the Braves were unable to push a run across in the 5-0 loss.
Lynch-Crumrine, who was 2-for-3 at the plate in the first game, took the loss in the circle in the opener for the Braves to fall to 12-8 on the season. Junior Mariah Cole (Springfield, Ill./Chatham Glenwood) helped highlight BU’s offensive efforts in the first game, going 2-for-3.
In the nightcap, Canopy gave Illinois State a 1-0 lead with her second home run of the day. Her two-out solo shot to center field was her eighth of the year.
Bradley tied it up at 1-1 in the top half of the fourth, with freshman Kathryn Spenn (Williamsville, Ill./Williamsville) ripping her first career home run with a one-out shot to left field.
The Braves threatened to break the tie in the top of the fifth; loading the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles to open the inning, but Illinois State pitcher Regan Romshek got out of the jam with a pop out, fielder’s choice and groundout.
Illinois State went back in front in the bottom half of the inning, however, breaking the game open with seven runs. Nichelle Harrison led off the inning with a single and Jhavon Hamilton gave the Redbirds a 3-1 lead with a two-run homer to center. Elizabeth Kay drove in another run later in the inning with a single and Shelby Music made it a 5-1 advantage with a bases loaded single. Another run came in on bases loaded fielder’s choice and two more runs crossed on Harrison’s second single of the inning and Bradley error on the play as the Redbirds took an 8-1 lead into the final two frames.
In the seventh, Bradley loaded the bases on a Lynch-Crumrine single, Alyson Clemente (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) double and Bailiegh Basham (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon/Lake Land C.C.) walk. Junior Alex Chandler (Needles, Calif./Needles) drove in a pair of runs with a one-out single to left center to trim the ISU lead to 8-3, but Redbird pitcher Sophia Perez retired the next two batters to close out the victory for Illinois State.
After a 2-for-3 game in the opener, Cole went 2-for-3 in the nightcap to cap a four-hit day as she helped highlight a 10-hit game in the second game.
Senior Mackenzie Camp (Mapleton, Ill./Limestone) suffered the loss in the day’s second game to even her record on the year at 8-8.
Bradley continues a seven-game Missouri Valley Conference road swing Saturday, opening a three-game series at Evansville with a noon doubleheader in Evansville, Ind.