Tagged: Alyson Spinas-Valainis

Sophomore Kendall Duffy hit a fifth-inning grand slam to highlight a five-run inning for Bradley and freshman Jaelen Hull limited Loyola to four hits and one run in three and one-third innings out of the bullpen as the Braves rallied for an 8-7 victory against the Ramblers in the championship game of the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Saturday afternoon. Bradley (27-30 overall), which earned its second NCAA Tournament trip with the victory, trailed twice before Duffy’s fifth-inning grand slam gave the Braves an 8-6 lead after five innings. Madeline Lynch-Crumrine was named the tournament MVP after posting a 2-0 record with a 1.98 ERA in three starts to go with a .273 batting average at the plate. She was joined with team mates Brianne Joseph, Shannon King and senior Marina Groenewegen. Along with the all-tournament honors, senior Mariah Cole was named the MVC’s Elite 18 Award winner, given to the student-athlete with the highest grade point average in the championship game.  A health science major, Cole owns a perfect 4.00 cumulative grade point average. The tournament title was Bradley’s second in program history and first since winning the 2009 event at Eastside Centre in East Peoria, IL. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced Sunday at 9 p.m. (CDT) on ESPNU. Here are a few of my snap shots from the game. I hope you enjoy them. Best of luck to coach Amy Hayes and the team Go Braves!

-Bob

Bradley University sophomore Kathryn Spenn delivered a RBI pinch hit single in the sixth and senior Madeline Lynch-Crumrine tossed a three-hit shutout as Bradley defeated I-74 rival Illinois State 1-0 Wednesday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park. Lynch-Crumrine was dominant, striking out four and walking three in the complete game shutout for her fourth shutout in Missouri Valley Conference play this season. The Braves (19-24 overall, 10-7 MVC) did not manage a base runner off the Redbirds (17-24 overall, 8-5 MVC) starter Regan Romshek until a single to open the fifth.

-Bob

Bradley University matched its conference win total from 2013 season, rallying from behind in both games of a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader against Loyola to top the Ramblers 3-2 and 4-2 Saturday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park. The Braves improved to 8-3 in Valley play for the first time since opening the 1986 Gateway Conference schedule with an identical 8-3 mark. Loyola pitcher Brittany Garnder took a two-hit shutout into the seventh inning of the opener before the Braves rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 3-2 victory.  Junior Alyson Clemente led off the seventh with a double to right and fellow junior Shannon King tied the game at 2-2, ripping the first pitch she saw over the fence in center field. Madeline Lynch-Crumrine struck out a career-high nine batters in the complete game victory to improve to 11-9 on the year.  The win was the 40th of Lynch-Crumrine’s career. In the nightcap, freshman pitcher Jaelen Hull did not allow a Loyola hit until the Ramblers opened the fourth with a bunt single. Two more hits in the inning and a Bradley error led to a pair of runs as the Braves found themselves trailing 2-1 heading to the fifth.

-Bob

Bradley turned in one of its best defensive efforts of the season and came up with a pair of stops in the closing seconds of the contest to hold off I-74 rival Illinois State 64-62 Sunday afternoon at Renaissance Coliseum.  The 62 points scored by the Redbirds were a season low for a Bradley opponent this year. The game was tight throughout with neither team leading by more than six points and the contest featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes.  Senior Kelsey Budd hit a floater in the lane at the six-minute mark and made a pair of free throws after coming up with a steal to give Bradley (5-15 overall, 2-7 MVC) a 59-54 advantage with just over five minutes to play. Budd’s basket with six minutes left proved to be the final field goal of the game for the Braves, however, and Illinois State (5-14 overall, 4-5 MVC) chipped away at the BU lead to eventually pull even at 60-60 with 1:51 to play. Senior Alyson Spinas-Valainis made a pair of free throws with 1:38 left to give Bradley a 62-60 advantage, but a Bradley foul on the next trip down the floor allowed the Redbirds to knot the score at 62-62 on a pair of Lindsay Smith free throws. Senior Catie O’Leary was fouled with 44.4 seconds left and split a pair of free throws to put the Braves ahead 63-62.  Spinas-Valainis came up with a block on the next Illinois State possession, but a BU turnover with 10 seconds to play gave the Redbirds one more chance. Bradley opens the second half of the Missouri Valley Conference schedule with a 7 p.m. game at Wichita State Friday.

-Bob

Junior Michelle Young scored a game and career-high 32 points to pace five Bradley University women’s basketball players in double figures as the Braves topped Illinois 98-92 Friday afternoon at Renaissance Coliseum. The crowd of 2,402 fans, which ranks as the fourth-best attendance total in school history and largest for a women’s basketball game at Renaissance Coliseum, left entertained as Bradley’s 98 points surpassed the previous arena mark of 96 points in a win against Iowa on Dec. 17, 2001 and the teams combined for a Renaissance Coliseum record 190 points. Bradley (1-0 overall) improved to 3-1 in its last four contests against Big Ten Conference foes and the Braves are now 3-2 in the last five matchups with the Illini. The game marked the first season opener against the BCS Conference foe for Bradley since the 1999-2000 season and the Braves topped a BCS Conference opponent to open a season for the first time since 1998-99. Young scored 19 of her career-best 32 points in the first half, including 13 points in a seven-minute span, and made 11-of-19 field goal attempts on the afternoon.  Her 32 points are tied for the eighth most in school history and were the most by a Bradley player in a home game since Genny Mueller had 33 points against Indiana State on March 6, 2004. Young’s point total also ranks as the most points scored by a Bradley individual in a season opener. All four Bradley seniors finished in double figures, Kelsey Budd added 23 points, seven assists and a career-best eight steals. The eight steals are the most by a Brave since Skye Johnson had eight takeways against Creighton on Feb. 23, 2008.

-Bob

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