Monday, April 23, 2012
Sports News

Redbirds complete sweep of Bradley

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[April 23, 2012]  PEORIA -- Senior Caiti Kopp drove a hard ground ball inside the bag at third base and into left field to plate two runs and give the Illinois State softball team a 5-3 win in 10 innings over Bradley at Laura Bradley Park in Peoria. For the second straight game, the Redbirds pounded out a season-high 15 hits.

Four ISU (28-20, 13-7 MVC) players recorded multiple hits in the contest, as Kopp and sophomore Laura Canopy led the way with three each. Senior Liz Andrews and juniors Jhavon Hamilton and Lauren Kellar each finished the afternoon with two hits.

Senior pitcher Jordan Birch went the distance for Illinois State, tossing all 10 innings, allowing just two earned runs. The Monroe, Wash., native fanned 11 Bradley (17-25, 7-12 MVC) hitters and issued just one walk to earn her 17th win of the season.

Illinois State wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, plating two runs in three hits in ISU's first at-bat. Kellar started the inning with a one-out single before swiping second base. Andrews followed with a double to put runners at second and third with just one out. Junior Elizabeth Kay flied out to deep left to score Kellar, and Andrews crossed the plate on Canopy's RBI single through the left side.

The Braves manufactured a run in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of Illinois State errors. Julie Sherman led off the inning with a bunt single and ended up at third following a throwing error and a fielding error on the same play. Jackie Roth delivered a sacrifice fly to deep left that allowed Sherman to score and cut the ISU lead to 2-1.

Hamilton notched her eighth homer of the season on a solo blast in the top half of the fifth to push the Redbird lead back to two at 3-1. However, Bradley would tie the game in the bottom of the frame on Sherman's two-out, two-run double to shallow left. Alex Chandler coaxed a walk to start the inning, and Alison Kresl singled with one out later in the inning prior to Sherman's game-tying double.

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The Redbirds' best chance to break the tie came in the sixth, when Canopy singled to start the inning, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kopp, and moved to third on a groundout. Bradley starter Madeline Lynch-Crumrine ended the threat with a strikeout, stranding Canopy 60 feet away.

The Braves put the game-winning run aboard in their half of the ninth, as Lynch-Crumrine singled to start the frame. However, pinch runner Brittany Burgess left first base early on a stolen base attempt, and Birch struck out the next two hitters.

Kay started Illinois State's 10th-inning rally with a one-out single through the left side. Canopy moved Kay to third with a double down the left-field line, before Kopp cleared the bases with the eventual game-winning double.

Birch pitched around a one-out double in the bottom of the inning to secure the win and complete the sweep of the Braves.

Illinois State will be back in action Tuesday evening, as it hosts Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State for a single game at Marian Kneer Stadium at 5 p.m. The Redbirds and Sycamores split a midweek doubleheader earlier this season in Terre Haute, Ind.

[Text from news release received from Dustin Hall, Illinois State University]

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