CARBONDALE, Ill.-- The Southern Illinois softball team picked up a pair of one-run wins over Bradley Sunday at Charlotte West Stadium to complete the series sweep of the Braves.
The Salukis held off another seventh-inning Bradley comeback attempt for the 6-5 win in the opener before rallying in the seventh inning for a 3-2 win in Game 2.
With the sweep, SIU moves to 24-25 overall and 12-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference while Bradley fell to 22-26 and 7-14 in the MVC.
SIU 6, Bradley 5
Game 1 Stats
The Salukis took a 6-3 run into the seventh inning before the Braves made things interesting in the final frame.
Bradley scored twice in the seventh to cut the SIU advantage to 6-5 before Saluki reliever Katie Bertelsen coaxed the final two outs to hold off the Braves.
"It all starts in the circle," said SIU head coach Kerri Blaylock. "I thought we had two pretty solid pitching performances. Then we got some relief. That helped out a lot."
Both teams scored a run in the second inning as Bradley scored on a sacrifice fly and SIU followed with a run on an RBI triple by sophomore Meredith Wilson. Bradley went up 2-1 with another sac fly in the top of the third before the Salukis exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-2 lead.
Southern's first six batters of the third inning recorded hits as Kelsea Ashton, Jayna Spivey and Taylor Orsburn each doubled, Allie VadeBoncouer hit a home run, Michelle Bradley doubled and Meredith Wilson singled. The hit parade came to a close following Wilson, however, as Bradley recorded outs on the next three Saluki hitters.
After a scoreless fourth and fifth inning, the Braves struck for one run in the sixth and SIU starter Alyssa Wunderlich gave up a single and a double to start the seventh. Bertelsen replaced Wunderlich with no outs in the seventh, and recorded a quick popout before the Braves scored on a wild pitch and an RBI single to cut the Saluki advantage to one.
Bertelsen bounced back with a big strikeout on the next batter before coaxing a groundout to shut the door for her fourth save of the season. Wunderlich (8-9) picked up the win after allowing five runs on 12 hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 6.0 innings.
"I thought we did a good job of limiting the big innings," Blaylock said. "What we had to do was hang in there with their pitching and understand when we had opportunities to try to take it."
Orsburn and Wilson both went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to lead the Saluki offense while VadeBoncouer picked up two RBI off her third home run of the season.
SIU 3, Bradley 2
Game 2 Stats
Clutch seventh-inning hits and baserunning by junior Michelle Glenn and senior Morgan Barchan lifted SIU to a 3-2 comeback win in the series finale.
Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the seventh inning, Glenn hit a blooper out to right-center that she was able to leg out for a double. Glenn then scored from second on an infield single by Barchan to knot the game at 2-2.
On the following at-bat, Barchan stole second, took third on a throwing error by Bradley's catcher and scored the winning run on a throwing error by the center fielder.
"Michelle and Morgan's base running was the key to that last inning, no doubt," Blaylock said. "It's all about being aggressive and hustling. That's what creates a lot of havoc."
Bradley jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game with runs in the first and third innings. The Salukis responded with a solo home run by Michelle Bradley in the bottom of the third to pull within 2-1, and the two teams went scoreless over the next three innings.
Southern struggled against Bradley starter Madeline Lynch Crumrine, who allowed just one run on three SIU hits through the first six innings.
"I thought she threw very well. This kid beat Arizona and almost beat Stanford," Blaylock said of Lynch-Crumrine. "She is good. I thought she was better against us today."
SIU starter Brittney Lang was also solid, allowing just two Bradley runs on eight hits with nine strikeouts and two walks before being replaced by Katie Bertelsen with one out in the seventh. Bertelsen (4-2) recorded back-to-back outs and was rewarded with the win after SIU's heroics in the bottom of the seventh.
"I was imploring the kids, please play 21 outs," Blaylock said. "If you play hard the entire game, I'm a firm believer good things happen."
Barchan led the SIU offense in Game 2, going 1-for-4 from the plate with an RBI and a run scored, all of which took place in the seventh inning. It was a memorable end to SIU's senior weekend as all three of SIU's seniors contributed to the win.
"(Michelle) Bradley hits a home run, Brittney throws well all weekend, then Morgan does that," Blaylock said. "Really they all played well."
SIU plays its final home game Wednesday with a non-conference tilt against Illinois before traveling to Indiana State Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5 to close out the regular season with a three-game set against the Sycamores.
From: SIU media relations
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