Senior Liz Andrews and juniors Jhavon Hamilton and Elizabeth Kay
all homered for ISU (27-20, 12-7 MVC) and combined for 11 hits and
10 RBIs. Kay finished 4 for 7 with a homer and four RBIs; Andrews
blasted a two-run shot and finished with four hits and two RBIs;
while Hamilton added three hits, including a three-run home run and
drove in four. Redshirt sophomore Nichelle Harrison also added four
hits for Illinois State, finishing the twin bill 4 for 7 at the
plate with a run scored and an RBI.
In the circle, senior Jordan Birch picked up her 16th win of the
year, allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts in game
one. Freshman Sophia Perez notched her second career win and
first career Valley win by tossing 3 1-3 innings of relief in game
two. The Simi Valley, Calif., native scattered three hits and fanned
three Bradley (17-24, 7-11 MVC) hitters without walking a batter.
Illinois State struck first in the opener, plating a run in the
third inning on Kay's RBI single through the left side. Junior
Lauren Kellar was hit by a pitch with one out to start the inning,
and Andrews followed by reaching on an error, prior to Kay's base
Hamilton extended the Redbirds' lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning by
belting a three-run homer off the wall in the left center for her
eighth long ball of the season. The Braves answered with a run
in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of an ISU throwing
error, to trim the margin to 4-1.
Neither team would score after the fourth, as Birch allowed just two
hits over the final three innings to secure the win, and six Illinois
State players combined for the team's seven hits.
ISU continued to swing hot bats in the nightcap and took a 1-0 lead
in the second inning on Hamilton's RBI single that scored Harrison.
Harrison reached on a one-out single, and freshman Lindsay Greene
coaxed a two-out walk to turn the order back over to Hamilton.
The Redbirds opened the third inning with four straight hits and
went on to plate four runs to open up a 5-0 lead. Andrews led off
the frame with a triple off the wall in center, and Kay followed with
a two-run blast to left center. Sophomore Laura Canopy and senior Caiti Kopp followed the round-tripper with back-to-back singles, and
sophomore Kolby Hoffman drew a one-out walk to chase Bradley starter
Mackenzie Camp. Greene capped the inning with a single up the middle
that plated Kopp.
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Bradley got a run back in its half of the third on Jackie Roth's
RBI single to center that plated Alison Kresl and made the score
5-1 in favor of the Redbirds.
Harrison pushed the Illinois State advantage back to five runs
in the fourth with a two-out infield single that allowed Canopy
to score, but Bradley would mount a rally in the bottom half of
the stanza, as they scored three runs on six hits. Alex Chandler
singled with one out to start a streak of five-consecutive hits
for BU, with the fourth chasing Illinois State starter Megan
Warner after 3 2-3 innings. Mariah Cole capped Bradley's offensive
attack with a double to left to cut the ISU lead to 6-4, before
Perez recorded a strikeout to end the inning.
Andrews quickly swung the momentum back in Illinois State's
favor by drilling a two-out, two-run homer over the wall in
right in push the lead back to 8-4. She just missed hitting for
the cycle, as she singled to right in her fifth and final at-bat
to cap a four-hit performance. Kay added an RBI single in the
seventh to seal a 9-4 victory, as Perez silenced the Braves over
the final 3 1-3 innings.
ISU looked to complete the sweep of Bradley Sunday
afternoon at Laura Bradley Park, with the first pitch of the
series finale slated for noon.
news release received from Dustin Hall, Illinois State