The Bradley softball team swept Missouri State in a three-game set for the first time since 2009 at the Petersen Hotels Field in Peoria on April 2 and 3. Entering the series at 9-10, the sweep propelled the Braves above .500 and snapped a four-game losing streak.
The Braves set the tone in the series opener by securing a 4-3 walk-off win over the Bears on Friday afternoon. Senior Stacia Seeton laced a single into left field, scoring junior Keeler van Breusegen to end the game in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Seeton finished the game one for four with three RBIs.
“Stacia just had a really good at-bat,” head coach Amy Hayes said. “She battled off five or six foul balls and got the job done for us.”
Sophomore Avry Blume added three hits of her own and recorded one RBI, while junior Grace French notched her fifth win of the year as a pitcher.
“We played well that game, we stuck with them, we didn’t let anything get too far away and it was a pretty back-and-forth game,” Hayes said. “I’m really, really proud of the way the kids came out; they were ready to go, they were determined, there was a little bit of fire in our belly and we didn’t let up.”
Owing to the late-inning heroics, junior Lucy Mead felt that the team carried momentum all weekend.
“We finished the first game, the energy was up and we continued it,” Mead said. “We came in that next morning all fired up, ready to go, and it showed.”
It certainly showed; Bradley carried the momentum into Saturday and took both games of the doubleheader, completing a sweep of the Bears. The first game was a 5-0 shutout in which Mead went two for three, including an inside-the-park home run that drove in three runs in the fourth inning.
The back end of the doubleheader had Missouri State jump out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top half of the second frame, but the Braves matched that with an inside-the-park home run from French in their half of the inning. In total, Bradley scored four unanswered runs, adding two in the third inning and an additional score in the fifth.
Mead went two for two in the series finale and noted that the sweep was “huge” for the team, who lost three straight games at Southern Illinois the prior weekend.
“We worked hard this week and we focused on the little things,” Mead said. “It was a really good week at practice, so I think we were all ready to come in and go hard.”
Next up for Bradley is a three-game series at Loyola on April 10 and April 11. The Braves are facing the Ramblers at the right time; Loyola has dropped eight straight games, sporting a 5-19 overall record (1-7 in the MVC).