The Braves could not fend off the hot pitching of Wichita State’s right hander Tim Kelley and the precise hitting of Tyler Grimes who handed the Braves a 5-2 loss last weekend.
Starting pitcher junior Brad Altbach had a rocky start giving up four runs which gave the Shockers an early lead.
Wichita State’s Will Baez was walked and Grimes followed with one of three doubles in the game. Ryan Jones then dumped a single into left field which scored the first two runs for the Shockers and advanced to second base.
Later in the inning Jones stole third and eventually came home on a wild pitch, putting the Shockers up 3-0.
Altbach gave up a leadoff walk to Andrew Letourneau to start the second. After a wild pitch, Letourneau moved to second. Baez drove home Wichita State’s fourth run with a single to center field.
Coach Elvis Dominguez said the team needed to get back into focus.
“We just had to remember that there was eight and a half innings left to play,” he said. “It wasn’t really our fault, they had two doubles and we didn’t have any errors, so they were just hot coming out.”
The Braves were able to come back and get two runs in the bottom of the second.
Senior Nick Mitidiero hit his fourth double of the season to start the Braves off in the second and came home on a two-out single to left field by sophomore catcher Brett Hendrix.
Senior first baseman Jim Clayton was walked and junior third baseman Jordan Colvin delivered an RBI single to left field, scoring Hendrix.
That was the last time the Braves crossed home plate as Kelley continued his hot pitching by retiring 17-of-18 Bradley hitters.
Though Altbach gave up four runs early, he was able to get into a stride as he cruised through the rest of the game, only allowing two more runners in the fifth and seventh frames.
Dominguez said Altbach still played a good game.
“Brad had a bad start but was able to settle down and gave us some good pitching,” he said. “Wichita State is a premiere baseball program in the country and they started hot.”
Freshman pitcher Justin Ziegler relieved Altbach to start the eighth and walked the first two Shockers he faced.
Wichita State’s Cody Lassley moved the lead runner with a fly ball to right-center field and Josh Rosencrans singled into right field to push the lead to 5-2.
The Braves responded with a late ninth inning surge, but Kelley was able to close out the game.
Dominguez said the team did not capitalize on things during the game.
“We had several opportunities in the ball game and we just could not take advantage of them,” he said. “We needed clutch hits when players were in scoring position because that is what can get your team momentum and it just didn’t happen.”
The Braves are back in action against rival Illinois State at 6 p.m. Wednesday and will host North Dakota in a four-game non-conference series next weekend at O’Brien Field.