Saturday, April 21, 2012
Sports News

ISU softball heads east on I-74 for Bradley rivalry

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[April 21, 2012]  NORMAL -- The Illinois State softball team will make the trip east on Interstate 74 this weekend for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series with in-state rival Bradley in Peoria. The Redbirds and Braves will open the series with a doubleheader at Laura Bradley Park on Saturday, beginning at noon, before concluding the weekend with a single game Sunday at noon.

ISU (25-20, 10-7 MVC) split a conference doubleheader Wednesday at Indiana State and took two of three from Drake last weekend at Marian Kneer Stadium. Senior pitcher Jordan Birch took a no-hitter into the seventh in Illinois State's 3-0 win over the Sycamores in Wednesday afternoon's opener, before Indiana State countered with a 6-1 win in game two. The Redbirds stranded 19 runners on the base paths in the twin bill and went 1 for 13 with runners on base. Freshmen Lindsey Greene and Kara Repp provided the only RBIs for Illinois State in the two contests, as Greene went 2 for 2 with her first career triple in the opener and Repp drove in a run with her first career double in the nightcap.

Sophomore Laura Canopy leads Illinois State's offense with a .317 batting average and .434 on-base percentage. Senior Liz Andrews owns a .310 average with seven doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs, while junior Jhavon Hamilton boasts a .306 average with a team-high seven homers and 24 RBIs. Sophomore Lauren Kellar reached base in both Wednesday contests to lift her average to .291 and extend her on-base streak to 14 games.

In the circle, Birch leads the Redbird staff with a 1.75 ERA and 15-12 record. The Monroe, Wash., native has fanned 162 opposing hitters and issued just 29 walks in 156 innings. The senior righty is limiting opposing hitters to a .209 average and has recorded eight shutouts. Fellow senior Megan Warner fell to 9-7 on the year after taking the loss in game two on Wednesday, and her ERA increased to 3.77. Warner has posted three shutouts in her 100 1-3 innings this season and has notched 39 strikeouts.

Bradley (17-22, 7-9 MVC) is coming off a doubleheader split with Northern Iowa Wednesday afternoon, as the Braves handed the Panthers their first conference loss of the season. BU fell 8-1 in the opener, before rebounding with a convincing 9-3 victory in game two. Bradley is 6-4 in its last 10 league games and is tied for sixth in the Valley standings. The Braves return 11 letter winners and six starters from last year's squad that went 13-41 overall and 6-19 in the MVC. BU is under the direction of head coach Amy Hayes, who is in her fourth year as the head coach of the Braves.

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Bradley is hitting .244 as a team, with a pair of players hitting over .300. Julie Sherman leads BU with a .307 average, while Madeline Lynch-Crumrine is hitting at a .306 clip. Lake Land College transfer Bailiegh Basham has driven in a team-high 18 runs, and Alyson Clemente and Alex Chandler are tied for the team lead with three homers. Lynch-Crumrine has also been the top pitcher for the Braves, as she enters the weekend with an 8-14 record and 2.54 ERA. Mackenzie Camp has been the second starter for Bradley this season and is 7-7 in the circle with a 3.00 ERA.

Illinois State holds a 55-16 advantage in the all-time series with Bradley and has won 19 of the last 21 meetings, including the last six straight. Last season, the Redbirds swept the Braves in a three-game series at Marian Kneer Stadium, with each game being decided by two runs or less.

[Text from news release received from Dustin Hall, graduate assistant, athletics communications, Illinois State University]

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