Bradley University Release Softball Schedule


Published on January 5 2018 6:45 am
Last Updated on January 5 2018 6:45 am
Written by Millie Lange

PEORIA -- Bradley softball will have its most home games since 2009 with 22 contests at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex, highlighted by the season-opening Petersen Hotels Invitational which will include 2017 Women’s College World Series participant Washington.

The Braves will play over one-third of its non-conference schedule against teams which advanced to the post season last year and eight of the 22 home contests are against squads coming off post-season appearances last spring.

Teutopolis High School graduate Allison Apke, is a sophomore on the squad.

“We are excited for the upcoming season after a very strong fall,” said 10th-year Bradley Softball head coach Amy Hayes.  “The Louisville Slugger Sports Complex gives us a unique opportunity to open the season at home and we look forward to hosting a strong field for the Petersen Hotels Invite to start the year.  The schedule has a good mix of teams to get us ready for Missouri Valley Conference play.”

The Petersen Hotels Invitational kicks off the 2018 slate Feb. 8-11, with Bradley hosting an in-season tournament for the first time since the 2009 campaign.  The tournament features Pac-12 power Washington, which posted a 50-14 record last year and a WCWS appearance, along with Saint Louis, Miami (Ohio) and Western Illinois.  The Braves will open the season Thursday, Feb. 8 against Saint Louis.  The first of two games against 2009 NCAA National Champion and two-time national runner-up Washington will be Friday, Feb. 9 and Bradley wraps up the second day of the tournament against Miami (Ohio).  After a day off, the Braves have a rematch with Washington on Sunday, Feb. 11 and conclude the tournament that afternoon against Western Illinois.

“A strong senior class, led by four-year starters Maria Schroeder and Elizabeth Leonard, along with some of younger hitters like Katie Habryle and Kealia Wysocki will be keys in our lineup,” added Hayes.  “Rachel Huggins has done a great job with our hitters and the addition of Jackie Bishop to our coaching staff has paid big dividends with the development of the pitching staff during the fall.”

Bradley will head to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Marucci Desert Classic Feb. 16-18, where the Braves will play four of five games against teams from the Mountain West Conference.  BU’s first trip to Las Vegas since 2011 includes contests against 2017 NCAA Tournament participant San Jose State, along with matchups against both Nevada and Utah State which both advanced to the inaugural NISC to cap the 2017 season.  Bradley will also play single games against Cal State Northridge and tournament-host UNLV.

Three NCAA Tournament teams are on the slate for Bradley’s trip to Orlando, Fla. (Feb. 23-25) for the Citrus Classic.  The Braves open tournament action Feb. 23 against NCAA participant South Carolina and also face Purdue on the opening day.  Defending Big Ten Champion Minnesota (56-5) and Kentucky, which both reached the 2017 NCAA Tournament, are on the schedule for Feb. 24 and the tournament wraps up against a South Alabama team which finished 35-20 last year.  Kentucky advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last year.

The Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn., is March 2-4 with a matchup against 2017 NISC participant Louisiana-Monroe highlighting the trip.  Bradley will also face Memphis and IPFW in addition to playing two games against UMKC.

The Braves return to Peoria to host Illinois Wednesday, March 7 at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex.  The Illini are coming off a 39-20 season capped by an NCAA Tournament appearance.

The final weekend of non-conference play will mark Bradley’s first trip to Louisville, Ky., since 2009 with the Braves joining Eastern Michigan, UMASS and tournament-host Louisville in the Louisville Classic March 9-11.  Bradley will play two games against both Eastern Michigan and Louisville along with a single contest against UMASS.

The second of four midweek non-conference games falls on March 14, with Bradley heading to Nashville, Tenn., for a game at Lipscomb (36-20 in 2017) before the Braves open Missouri Valley Conference play March 17-18 at home against defending MVC regular-season champion Northern Iowa.

A seven-game home stand continues March 21 with a midweek contest against Western Illinois and concludes March 24 & 25 with a weekend home series against Loyola.

After weekend road series at Drake (March 30 & 31) and at Indiana State (April 7 & 8), Bradley returns to the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex for the final non-conference game of the year.  The Braves will host SIU Edwardsville, which posted a 41-13 record last spring, Wednesday, April 11.

Bradley travels to Missouri State for a weekend series April 14 & 15, before returning home for a five-game home stand which starts Wednesday, April 18 with a doubleheader against I-74 rival Illinois State.  The Braves host 2017 MVC Tournament champion Southern Illinois April 21 & 22.

A mid-week game at Illinois State April 24 concludes the season series with the Redbirds and Bradley will play its final road series of the year at MVC newcomer Valparaiso April 28 & 29.

The Braves finish out the 2018 regular-season schedule at home, hosting Evansville May 5 & 6 at the Louisville Slugger Sports Complex.  Bradley’s 22 home games are the most regular-season home contests since playing 25 regular-season home games in 2007.

The 2018 Missouri Valley Conference Championship will be held May 10-12 in Des Moines, Iowa.