Softball wins two against Evansville

With the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the sixth inning, sophomore Alex Chandler, who hit a home run in the third inning, stepped into the batter’s box.

Although she had an opportunity to give the Bradley softball team its first lead in Sunday’s game against Evansville, she struck out swinging on a 2-2 count.

In the eighth inning, she was granted another opportunity with a runner on third base. This time she bunted home the game-winning run, sophomore Mariah Cole, to give Bradley a 2-1 win.

“Well I mean I had to redeem myself,” Chandler said. “My team did their job to get on base and get in position to score. I didn’t do it the first time, but the second time around I knew I was going to [score them].”

Chandler highlighted Sunday’s win at the plate and the Braves received eight shutout innings in the pitching circle by sophomore Madeline Lynch-Crumrine.

Bradley also split a doubleheader Saturday with a 5-1 loss in the first game, and a 6-0 win in game two. Sophomore Bailiegh Basham paved the way with a two-run home run that skied over the left field fence, and Lynch-Crumrine tossed six shutout innings and added a RBI single in the win.

The Braves improved to 13-19 overall and 3-6 in Missouri Valley Conference play. In 16.1 innings pitched over the course of the weekend, Lynch-Crumrine gave up only one run.

“It felt really exciting that my team was there with strong defense,” Lynch-Crumrine said. “Just knowing they had my back really helped me feel more relaxed when I was in the [pitching] circle.”

Saturday afternoon’s win snapped a five-game losing streak for Lynch-Crumrine in the pitching circle. It was her first winning decision since facing Long Island on March 10.

“It felt good coming back from when I was struggling to get ahead and stay ahead and finish hitters,” she said. “[Junior] Mackenzie Camp did a great job of coming in and filling in that leader position. Knowing that we can have each other’s back is really awesome.”

The Braves won their first three-game series of conference action and won back-to-back games for the first time since March 10.

“We definitely proved ourselves in the last two games,” Chandler said. “We probably should have swept them but we won the series so it was good. We just need to continue to use that momentum to win the rest of our conference games.”

The Braves will begin a three-game series with Missouri State starting with a doubleheader today at noon on the road. Bradley won’t return to Peoria until April 18 for a doubleheader against first-place Northern Iowa.