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Softball swept at Razorback Invitational

The softball team was limited to just one day of action at the Razorback Invitational last weekend after the second day of play was canceled because of cold weather in Fayetteville, Ark.
Before Saturday’s games were called off, the Braves suffered a pair of losses Friday, falling to South Dakota State and Arkansas.
“Arkansas was a long trip,” coach Amy Hayes said. “We got in late on Friday, and I think that showed in our game against South Dakota, because we just couldn’t get that timely hit.”
The Braves were bested in their first game of the tournament by South Dakota State, as the Jackrabbits squeaked past Bradley 1-0.
Sophomore Katie Dennis (3-2) was the losing pitcher in the game, although she only allowed one unearned run, while giving up eight hits and striking out five.
Bradley was unable to take advantage of seven runners in scoring position and nine walks by South Dakota State’s Pam Nicholson, leaving a total of 13 runners on base. 
“We came out a little bit flat in that game,” Hayes said. “Our energy level was down and we just couldn’t get it done. Katie Dennis gave us a nice performance in the circle and we just couldn’t get one across for her.”
Nicholson was the winning pitcher for the Jackrabbits (3-12 overall), tossing a complete game and giving up only five hits.
Bradley threatened early in the game, as senior Anne Creighton led-off the contest with a single up the middle and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but Nicholson was able to pitch out of the jam.
South Dakota State plated its only run when Brittany Potsma scored after a Bradley throwing error and a fielder’s choice.
The Braves had a chance to tie the game in both the sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to muster a run from two bases-loaded situations.
In the afternoon game, the Braves were topped by tournament-host Arkansas by a score of 10-5.
Bradley had another one-run game on its hands through the fifth inning, trailing just 6-5, but the Razorbacks were able to put things out of reach in the sixth with a two-out grand slam by Brittany Robinson. Robinson’s four RBIs led Arkansas, while Kayla Johnson added another two.
Senior pitcher Ashley Birdsong (2-3) suffered the loss for Bradley, going 4 2/3 innings and surrendering six earned runs, while junior Amanda Clack pitched the remainder of the game and gave up four earned runs on a pair of hits.
“[Birdsong] threw fairly well and had good stuff, she just couldn’t seem to get in a groove,” Hayes said. “We actually had a lightning delay and after that, they came back out and capitalized with a big hit.”
Clack produced some offense for the Braves, going 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, while Creighton was 2-for-3 with an RBI as well.
Junior Jacqueline Vitale also had a hit for the Braves and leads the team with a .412 batting average.
The Braves will be in action today in Louisville, Ky., as they will play back-to-back games against Louisville and Ohio in the first day of the Louisville Tournament.
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