After a slow start at the Central Florida Early Bird Invitational, the Braves rallied back to win three straight games last week, including knocking off No. 25 Kansas.
Bradley opened up the tournament against South Carolina and Bowling Green and were defeated 3-0 and 8-6 respectively.
The Braves did not give up.
Bradley got back in the win column after beating South Carolina 5-3. The Braves gained an early 1-0 lead in the second inning and added two more runs in the bottom of the third inning led by senior Anne Creighton’s leadoff single and followed up by junior Amanda Clack’s single.
Clack helped Bradley score two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and sealed the deal against the Catamounts.
The Braves continued to cruise past their opponents, rolling to a victory over the Jayhawks.
Senior pitcher Ashley Birdsong led the Braves with a complete-game three-hit shutout allowing Bradley to capitalize on the offensive end.
Sophomore Lauren Kelly produced a big hit to score the Braves’ first run in the top of the second inning. Freshman Jackie Roth continued her hot streak at the plate producing a single and then beat out an infield single to advance the second base. She eventually scored on Kelly’s single to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, Birdsong saw herself in a bases-loaded hole with just one out but was able to overcome the dilemma. The Braves were able to throw out a runner at the plate and forced a ground out to Kansas’ Sara Ramirez.
Creighton added an insurance run at the top of the third inning on a Kansas error, putting the Braves up 2-0. Birdsong then continued her impressive pitching to put away the Jayhawks and lock up the Braves’ second consecutive victory in the tournament.
Hayes said it was a great win for the team.
“Anytime we can get a win over a ranked team is good for the program,” she said. “It really showed what the ladies can do and it gives them the confidence they need to win and stay focused on a daily basis.”
The Braves then topped off their win streak with a slim 2-1 victory over George Mason led by junior Jacqueline Vitale’s home run to extend the game into extra innings and by senior Alycia Bachkora who drove home the winning run in the eighth inning.
Hayes said their biggest challenge is taking their win streak they and carrying it over to their next game – which isn’t until next week.
“We need to scrimmage really hard and be at the intensity level we were at to be successful in our next game,” she said.
The Braves will resume play Feb. 27 at the Razorback Invitational against South Dakota State.