There’s good news and bad news for the Bradley baseball team. The good news is the men are scoring a ton of runs this season. The Braves have scored at least seven runs in each of their first six games, including a 14-run performance last Sunday against Tennessee Tech.
The bad news for the Braves is they allowed Tennessee Tech to score more runs last weekend. Bradley allowed 34 runs over three games, contributing to a pair of losses in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Though head coach Elvis Dominguez said the intense winds had an effect on the inflated scoring, he said he’s not one to make excuses.
“We have to learn to pitch in those kind of environments, and our guys did not,” Dominguez said.
According to Dominguez his pitchers had command difficulty, which led to Friday’s 13-7 loss and Sunday’s 16-14 loss. Junior Allan Beer and freshman Alex Gray combined to give up 12 runs on 14 hits Friday, while senior Eric Scheuermann was dinged for seven earned runs on nine hits Sunday.
Bradley also used five other relievers Sunday, four of which gave up at least one run.
Despite the struggles on the hill, Dominguez said the season is still young, and there is plenty of time to tidy things up, especially in the back end of the bullpen.
“You got 50 games left, and those things are bound to happen,” Dominguez said. “You can’t ask Mariano Rivera to be perfect all the time – you ask him to be perfect 80 percent of the time. Hopefully, we can get that 20 percent of the year out right now.”
The weekend wasn’t entirely gloomy for the Braves, though. The Braves earned a 7-5 win Saturday thanks to a solid performance on the mound from sophomore Ben Olson, who allowed three unearned runs in six innings.
Bradley also plated 28 runs throughout the weekend, seven of which came off the bat of sophomore outfielder Jean-Francois Garon. The Canadian also belted three home runs and walked three times to spur Bradley’s offensive explosion.
“We had a good scouting report on them, and I think we just executed that,” Garon said. “I got pretty lucky on those baseballs, you know, being able to elevate them. I’m just happy I could help the team.”
However, 28 runs weren’t enough to earn a series win, so the Braves were left disappointed, Dominguez said.
“When you score seven runs, you expect to win,” Dominguez said. “It goes back to the fact that those guys on the back end need to give us some shut down innings. Yeah, they’re young, and they’ll figure it out, but they’re going through some growing pains.”
Bradley now faces an even tougher task this weekend as they play No.18 Sam Houston State on the road. Though the Bearkats were just swept in their series last weekend against No.13 Louisiana Lafayette, Dominguez said they still “have [their] hands full.”
“This will be a really good matchup for us, but at the same time, we have to compete in all aspects of the game,” Dominguez said. “We’ve been playing really good defense and swinging the bats really well. Now it’s just a matter of solidifying our pitching a little bit, and I think that’s going to come.”