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Softball loses close contest to rival Illinois State

Bradley’s archrival powered past the Braves Tuesday as the Illinois State Redbirds beat the Bradley softball team 3-2.

The Braves’ Lindsay Hufeld pitched well, only giving up four hits while pitching a complete games. But two of those four hits were homeruns for the Redbirds and the offensively challenged Braves didn’t have enough power to keep pace.

“[Hufeld] really knows the game,” head coach Amy Hayes said. “She really has the ability to pick it apart when she wants to.”

Hufeld started pitching with a lead thanks to a run in the top of the first. After Bradley junior Julie Sherman reached first on an error, she advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brittany Fairbairn reached first on a fielder’s choice when Sherman beat the throw home.

The Redbird’s power struck in the bottom of the second when ISU’s Liz Andrews put one over the fence for a homerun, tying the game 1-1.

Next inning, the Braves surrendered another run when Kara Nelson singled off Hufeld and Abby Olson doubled to left center to drive in a run.

As Huefeld settled down the next two innings, the Braves did their best to take the lead back.  After an RBI for Sherman, the Braves had two runners on base, but both were thrown out at the plate.

“We’re having better at-bats as a team and at times we’re hitting the ball better,” Hayes said. “I think we’ve been a little unlucky, but we just need to get consistent all the way around.”

The Braves luck kept going south at the top of the fifth, when ISU’s Lauren Kellar rocketed a homerun to right field to start off the third inning.

The Braves had a shot at ending the game with some late-game heroics, but they came up just short.

It seemed as if junior Jackie Roth had tied the games for the Braves, but Andrews plucked Roth’s homerun ball from over the outfield wall.

ISU’s Warner pitched the Redbirds out of the inning and got the victory.

The Braves will travel this weekend to take on the third-place Southern Illinois Salukis in a three game series.

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