PEORIA, Ill. -- The Bradley softball team closes the 2012 regular-season schedule with a three-game home series against Southern Illinois Saturday and Sunday at Laura Bradley Park. The Braves and Salukis play a noon doubleheader Saturday before finishing the regular season with a single game at noon on Sunday.
Bradley (19-28 overall, 9-14 MVC) locked up a spot in next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament by taking two out of three games at Wichita State last weekend, but the Braves' seed for the eight-team, single-elimination tournament is still to be determined.
BU enters the weekend seventh in the Valley standings, one game behind sixth-place Missouri State. The Braves can earn the #6 seed by winning one more game than the Bears do this weekend in their three-game series at Creighton. Bradley needs one win or one Wichita State loss at Drake to guarantee at least the #7 seed in next week's event in Carbondale, Ill.
Southern Illinois (33-17 overall, 15-8 MVC) is coming off a 3-2 midweek loss at Illinois and the Salukis have dropped four of their last five Missouri Valley Conference games to slip into third in the MVC standings. SIU can lock up a top-four finish and first-round tournament bye with any combination of two victories or two losses by either Drake or Creighton.
The Braves finish up the regular season at home for the fifth consecutive year and seventh time in the last eight seasons. BU is 16-17 in the final regular-season home game of the season, which includes a 2-1 record under head coach Amy Hayes. Last season, Bradley secured a spot in the 2011 State Farm MVC Tournament with a two-out, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh to top Wichita State 5-4.
Saturday's doubleheader will be Alumni Day, with Bradley softball alumni in attendance. Sunday will mark Senior Day for BU, with Bradley's five seniors recognized in a pre-game ceremony. BradleyBraves.com will provide a free video stream and live stats for all three games.
The weekend series will mark the final home games for Bradley seniors Lindsay Hufeld (Mapleton, Ill./Limeston/Illinois Central), Alison Kresl (Kankakee, Ill./Bishop McNamara), Jackie Roth (Hickory Hills, Ill.Stagg), Julie Sherman (Hickory Hills, Ill. Stagg) and Heather Terry (Jones, Okla./Jones).
The second player in program history with 50 runs, 50 RBI, 50 walks and 25 stolen bases, Roth will likely play her 200th career game Sunday, becoming the fifth player in program history to reach the 200-game mark.
Sherman is looking to become the sixth player in program history to lead the team in runs in back-to-back years. Her 28 runs this spring are the most by a Brave since Molly Bergeson scored 30 times in 2005 and she is currently 10th in career runs scored at Bradley.
Pairings for next week's State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will be announced Sunday night following the conclusion of the Missouri Valley Conference schedule. The Braves will play Thursday, May 10th in Carbondale, Ill., at either 11 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.