NORMAL, Ill. – Freshman Kealia Wysocki (ACES) went 3-for-4 with two home runs a double and five RBI, but Illinois State rallied in the seventh for a 6-5 victory in the nightcap after taking the opener of Wednesday’s doubleheader 9-1 to sweep a doubleheader from Bradley.
Bradley (19-25 overall, 5-12 MVC) found itself in an early 6-0 hole in the first game of the day. ISU leadoff hitter Riley Hale hit the first of four first-inning homers for the Redbirds as Illinois State jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first inning.
Illinois State (24-17 overall, 14-3 MVC) starter Sarah Finck held Bradley to one hit through the first four innings, before freshman Kealia Wysocki led off the top of the fifth with a solo homer to right. The Braves couldn’t cut any further into the Illinois State (24-17 overall, 14-3 MVC) lead, however, leaving a pair of runners on in the fifth and trailed 6-1.
The Redbirds ended the game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Illinois State loaded the bases with a single, walk and hit batter before the first run of the frame came home on a Bradley error. Hale ripped a two-out, two-run single through the right side to cap the 9-1 ISU victory.
In the nightcap, Bradley loaded the bases with one out on singles by Maria Schroeder and Caitlyn McCarron along with an Allison Apke walk. Illinois State got the second out of the inning at the plate on a fielder’s choice, but Wysocki drew a two-out walk to drive in a run and give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Schroeder led off the top of the third with a double down the left field line and McCarron followed with her second hit of the game. With one out and runners at second and third, Elizabeth Leonard drove in a run when she reached on an error as Bradley took a 2-0 advantage. Wysocki made it a 5-0 Bradley lead when she ripped the first pitch of her at bat over the batting cage beyond the left field fence.
The three-run homer was Wysocki’s second of the day and team-best sixth of the year. Trish Kowalewski is the only freshman in program history with more home runs with seven in her rookie season of 2005.
Illinois State got back into the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Jordan de los Reyes followed a Shannon Felde walk to leadoff the frame with a two-run homer to center as the Redbirds trimmed Bradley’s lead to 5-2.
Bradley’s lead was 5-3 after Illinois State got a run in the bottom of the fifth. The Redbirds had the bases loaded with one out after a pair of singles and walk. Felde drove in a run with a groundout and Illinois State threatened to do further damage with runners at second and third and two outs. Senior Jaelen Hull settled down to get out of the jam without any more damage, however, as de los Reyes flied out to left to end the inning.
Bradley had a pair of hits in the top of the seventh, but were unable to push an insurance run across and Illinois State took advantage in the bottom half. After surrendering a leadoff walk, Hull struck out the next two batters. A Felde two-out single kept the Redbirds alive and de los Reyes belted an opposite field walk-off home run to right center to give Illinois State a 6-5 walk-off victory. The homer was the second of the game for de los Reyes, who was 3-for-4 with five RBI in the nightcap.
Hull struck out seven in her first start of the season, scattering eight hits in 6.2 innings as she dropped to 8-5 on the year.
Bradley will return to Petersen Hotels Field at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex this weekend, opening a three-game series against preseason MVC favorite Drake with a 1:30 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.