PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley trailed 5-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but scored a pair of two-out runs on a Madeline Lynch-Crumrine (Sedro-Woolley, Wash./Sedro-Woolley) single and had the tying run at the plate before SIU Edwardsville got the final out of the game as the Cougars escaped with a 5-3 win against the Braves Tuesday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park.
SIU Edwardsville (28-8 overall) jumped out to an early lead, with Taylor Tooley belting a solo homer in the top of the first and the Cougars added three more runs in the top of the third to build a 4-0 lead. The first run of the third inning came in on a bases loaded wild pitch and Rachel Coonrod ripped a double down the left field line to drive in two more runs.
Junior Brianne Joseph (Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls) led off the bottom of the first with a single, but it was the only hit in the first three innings for Bradley off SIUE starter Amanda Lambrecht. The Braves (20-15 overall) finally got to Lambrecht in the bottom of the fourth following a Rachel Huggins (Mt. Zion, Ill./Mt. Zion) two-out single.
Sophomore Alyson Clemente (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) added a single of her own and freshman Kathryn Spenn (Williamsville, Ill./Williamsville) drove in pinch runner Brittany Burgess (Utica, Ill./St. Bede) from second with a single down the field line as BU cut the SIU Edwardsville lead to 4-1.
Lynch-Crumrine, who entered the game in the third inning, pitched around a leadoff double in the fifth and struck out seven batters in just four and two-third innings of work. The seven strikeouts were one short of matching a career high which she set last weekend at Creighton.
Bradley threatened in the bottom of the fifth after junior Mariah Cole (Springfield, Ill./Chatham Glenwood) reached on an error to open the inning and Joseph’s second single of the game put runners at second and third with only one out. Lambrecht retired the next two batters she faced, however, to get out of the jam and SIU Edwardsville carried a 4-1 lead into the seventh inning.
The Cougars added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a RBI single by Coonrod as SIUE pushed the advantage to 5-1.
The Braves opened the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back singles by Cole and Shannon King (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty), but needed some clutch hits later in the inning to keep the game alive. With two outs and runners at second and third, Lynch-Crumrine drove in two runs with a single to center field to cut the SIU Edwardsville lead to 5-3 and bring the tying run to the plate.
Huggins, who was 1-for-4 on the afternoon and extended her hit streak to a season-best four games earlier in the contest, had a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat, but SIUE’s Rebecca Gray made a catch just in front of the fence in left field to close out the game.
Senior Mackenzie Camp (Mapleton, Ill./Limestone) took the loss in the circle for Bradley to fall to 8-7 on the year. Camp struck out four and combined with Lynch-Crumrine to fan 11 SIUE hitters for the most strikeouts for a Bradley opponent since a game against Wagner (11 strikeouts) on March 6, 2010.
Bradley opens a seven-game Missouri Valley Conference road swing Thursday with a 3 p.m. doubleheader at I-74 rival Illinois State.