PEORIA, Ill. -- Senior Madeline Lynch-Crumrine (Sedro-Woolley, Wash./Sedro-Woolley) limited pre-season conference favorite Northern Iowa to just four hits and was one of eight Bradley players to get a hit as the Braves topped the Panthers 5-2 Sunday afternoon on Senior Day at Laura Bradley Park.
Playing the final home game of their careers, Bradley’s six seniors combined for four of the team’s eight hits and drove in four of five runs to help lead the Braves to the 5-2 victory. Bradley (23-27 overall, 14-10) locked up its first winning conference record since 1994 (9-5) with the victory and moved within one-half game of Southern Illinois (14-9) for third in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with three games to play.
Lynch-Crumrine got off to strong start in the circle retiring the first six batters she faced and the Braves staked her to an early lead with a pair of runs in the first. Junior Alyson Clemente (Murrieta, Calif./Murrieta Valley) had a one-out double and Lynch-Crumrine drove in the first run of the contest with a single to right. Lynch-Crumrine came around to score all the way from first on a double off the fence in left center by junior Shannon King (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) to give Bradley an early 2-0 advantage.
The Braves added three more runs in the bottom of the second to push the lead to 5-0. BU loaded the bases on a pair of singles and walk to open the inning and chase Northern Iowa (25-18 overall, 12-11 MVC) starter Jamie Fisher from the game. Reliever Chelsea Ross hit senior Brianne Joseph (Post Falls, Idaho/Post Falls) with her first pitch to plate another run.
Senior Marina Groenewegen (Surrey British Columbia/Elgin Park Secondary/Southern Idaho) followed with the big hit of the day with a two-run single through the right side. Senior Maria Cole (Springfield, Ill./Chatham Glenwood) scored easily from third on the single and freshman Kelly Kapp (Freeburg, Ill./Gibault Catholic) raced home from second to slide under the tag and push the Bradley lead to 5-0.