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Softball drops close conference contest to Drake

In the end, errors cost the softball team its first conference victory.

Sophomore Mackenzie Camp pitched a complete game, in which she gave up no earned runs and struck out four batters. But two errors in the sixth doomed the Braves.

“We came out fairly prepared and ready to go,” coach Amy Hayes said.  “I think our defense just let us down today.”

The errors came in the top of the sixth, with the Braves and Bulldogs tied at 1-1.

Drake’s Torey Craddock reached first on an error at the top of the frame. Craddock scored after the Braves miffed a sacrifice bunt to bring the score to 2-1.

Drake’s Jordan Gronewold increased the Bulldogs’ lead to 3-1 when she hit a fly ball to the outfield wall for a sacrifice fly.

“We’re still trying to find our niche in getting it all together,” Hayes said. “I think for us, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

Led by senior Brittany Fairbain, the Braves had a chance at winning the game with a late inning rally.

In the bottom of the sixth, Fairbain’s line drive in the gap in right field that scored fellow senior Denise Jilka to bring the score to 3-2. Fairbain’s double chased Drake’s Brynne Dordel off the mound after she went five innings with seven strikeouts.

Relief pitcher Jenna DeLong made quick work of the next two hitters and retired the side.

When the Braves came up to bat at the bottom of the seventh, it was three up, three down, as DeLong retired the side yet again to earn the save.

With the second-lowest team batting average in the Missouri Valle Conference, Bradley has had difficulty driving in runs all game and all season long.

In the first, Jilka scored  not with a swing of the bat but  a wild pitch from Dordel. In the third and fourth innings, the Braves stranded two runners on third base.

With the loss, the Braves are winless in the conference and sitting in last place in the MVC. They will be looking for their first conference win on the road when they visit the Creighton Bluejays for a three-game series in Omaha, Neb.