This past weekend, the Indiana State Sycamores softball team traveled to Peoria, Illinois to compete against the Bradley University Braves as part of a three-game series. The Sycamores came into the series with a record of 16-29 on the season and were coming off a 3-2 win against the University of Evansville Purple Aces. The Bradley University Braves came into the series with a 24-18 record.
In the first matchup of the series Saturday, Indiana State and Bradley went back and forth in a very fast paced matchup. Senior infielder Shaye Barton went 2-for-4 at bat with an extra base hit each, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Braves as the Sycamores lost with a final score of 8-6. The Braves posted a three-run inning in the third as sophomore Taise Thompson hit two home runs and pushed the Braves ahead 4-3. A single run in the fourth of a RBI double extended their lead to 5-3, but the Sycamores came roaring back after three runs in the fifth to give them a 6-5 lead, thanks to Shaye Barton’s two-run triple and Bella Peterson’s RBI single. The Sycamores relinquished their lead when Bradley’s Jillian Navarro drove in two runs with a single in the fifth to make the score 7-6 and once again give Bradley the lead. The Braves would finish the game off with a bases loaded hit pitch in the sixth to send another runner across the plate and make the final score 8-6. Sophomore pitcher Arielle Blankenship was charged with a loss after three runs on three hits in 1.2 innings.
In the second game, the Sycamores blew a 6-1 lead midway through the fourth. Bradley’s Stacia Seeton led the comeback with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate with three runs and three RBIs. Shaye Barton had a leadoff single in the fifth, but she was tagged out before she could reach home base. Bella Peterson hit a double, but she also couldn’t make it home because the game ended with a final score of 8-7 Braves after two more outs. Arielle Blankenship was once again charged with a loss after allowing two runs on three hits in the final inning. Senior catcher Brooke Mann threw out her 16th runner this season, which is a new single season Sycamore record and the top mark in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The final matchup would end in a 10-2 blowout win for the Braves. The Sycamores struck first blood when they scored on a Kristen Kelly run from a Mallory Marsicek single in the second inning to build a lead. The teams went back and forth without any scoring until the fourth inning when Bradley junior, Kealia Wysocki hit a solo home run to put the Braves on the board. The Braves would continue to put points on the board after junior infielder Alison Apke hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to give the Braves a 5-1 lead. The Sycamores would score again after Bella Peterson hit an RBI single in the fifth to send junior infielder Leslie Sims across home plate. The Braves would keep the scoring going in the sixth after senior outfielder Gabby Stoner scored off an Allison Apke RBI single to push the Braves lead to 7-2. Taise Thompson would finish the Sycamores off after a walk off home run to make the final score 10-2. Sycamore pitcher Gabbi Schnaiter was charged with a loss after allowing 10 runs on 10 hits.
With the three losses to the Braves this weekend, The Sycamores’ record drops to 16-32. The Sycamores’ all time record against Bradley drops to 34-66, with a 14-32 mark in Peoria. The Sycamores will travel back home to compete against the Missouri State University Friday at noon. The matchup can be watched on ESPN+.