ISU Softball Heads East on I-74 for Bradley Rivalry
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April 20, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State softball team will make the trip east on I-74 this weekend for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series with in-state rival Bradley in Peoria, Ill. The Redbirds and Braves will open the series with a doubleheader at Laura Bradley Park Saturday 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 RBI, while junior Jhavon Hamilton boasts a .306 average with a team-high seven homers and 24 RBI. 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 156.0 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, as her ERA increased to 3.77. Warner has posted three shutouts in her 100.1 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 letterwinners 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.
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.
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