Baseball Continues Rough Stretch with Loss to NIU

The Bradley baseball team’s woes continued after a 14-1 loss against Northern Illinois Tuesday night at O’Brien Field.

The Braves extended their current losing streak to three games and have lost 11 of their last 13.

“It’s something that you have to grind out,” sophomore Jason Leblebijian said. “You have to do what you did from the get-go and eventually it will turn around and start going your way.”

Bradley’s offense has struggled  recently and has scored only one run in its past three games. Tuesday’s loss featured only three hits, with the run coming from junior Brad Kimball’s sacrifice fly to score junior Rob Elliott in the fourth inning.

Elliott also stole two bases in the game which gave him a team-high 23 for the season and raised his career total to 51 stolen bases, the fourth highest in Bradley history.

Last weekend, the Braves took one of three games against Evansville with a 3-2 win in Saturday’s first game of a doubleheader. Bradley was shutout in its next two games losing 6-0 in the second game Saturday and 2-0 Sunday. It was the first time the Braves have been shutout in consecutive games since the 2006 season.

Junior Joe Bircher was the star in Saturday’s win, pitching a complete game, giving up one earned run and striking out a career-high 10.

Bircher improved to 5-3 with a 2.65 ERA and a team-high 46 strikeouts.

The Braves scored the winning run in the seventh inning when sophomore David Compitello scored on junior Jerrod Eigsti’s ground out. Eigsti leads the team with 27 RBIs.

Bradley was held to just two hits in its 6-0 loss in the second game of the doubleheader. In Sunday’s 2-0 loss, the Braves pounded out eight hits but left seven runners on base.

Sophomore pitcher John Nasshan threw five strikeouts and gave up only one earned run in 7.2 innings on Sunday.

The Braves fell to 20-19 and 2-7 in conference play. They still have time to get momentum back on their side with 14 games remaining on the schedule before the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

Bradley will be on the road for three conference games against Creighton this weekend.