Bradley’s Jacqueline Vitale drove in the game-winning run with a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Braves to a 3-2 win over the Missouri State Bears Thursday in the opening round of the Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championship.
With one out in the decisive eighth inning, Vitale lined a 1-2 pitch from MSU right-hander Lauren McGinley through the right side to bring in Lindsay Watkins with the winning run. Watkins started the inning with her second hit of the day, a single to right field off Natalie Rose. After Janay Mitchell popped-up a bunt attempt for the first out, Rose issued a walk to Alycia Bachkora, and McGinley beaned Miriam Wegmann on a 2-2 count to load the bases and set the stage for Vitale’s second straight game-winning hit against the Bears. The Braves’ junior catcher provided BU’s only offense Sunday with a sixth-inning homer in a 2-0 victory.
Birdsong (16-10) won for the sixth time in nine days, holding the Bears to two runs on six hits while striking out eight hitters. The senior righty retired 15 straight batters between the third and eighth innings to give Bradley (22-26) a chance for to pick up its sixth consecutive win.
With the loss, the Bears’ fifth straight, Missouri State closed the 2009 season with a 19-25 mark.