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Baseball splits with NIU in home opener

Hits were at a premium for the baseball team Wednesday, as the Braves split a doubleheader with Northern Illinois at O’Brien Field.
Bradley only managed three hits in the first game, but they came at the right times.
The Huskies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top half of the third inning, but Bradley got one back in the bottom half of the frame in the form of a sacrifice fly courtesy of sophomore Rob Elliot. He drove in senior Tommy Fitzgerald, who reached third on a one-out triple.
Bradley evened the score in the fourth. 
Senior Nick Mitidiero was hit by a pitch and then stole second.
Following a deep fly ball that advanced Mitidiero to third, junior Kevin Sullivan drove him in with a double to right field.
Mitidiero came up big later in the game, scoring what would prove to be the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. He reached base on a one-out single, then moved to third after a throwing error as he stole second. After a pair of walks loaded the bases, a wild pitch allowed Mitidiero to score, putting the Braves on top 3-2.
Senior Bryan Porter pitched the last two-thirds of the seventh inning to pick up the save, while freshman Jacob Booden notched his first collegiate victory, registering four strikeouts in six and one-third innings.
The second game provided a different result for Bradley, as it fell 5-1.
The Huskies scored twice in the top of the third and never looked back.
They added three more runs in the fifth inning, pushing the lead to 5-0.
NIU pitcher Tom Barry threw six innings of no-hit ball before Fitzgerald broke through with a one-out double. A balk moved him to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by senior Grant Escue, providing the Braves’ only run.
Bradley put together a threat in the bottom half of the seventh, as senior Adam Kimble hit a leadoff double.
Junior Mike McMillan hit a one-out single to move Kimble to third, and senior Jim Clayton drew a walk to load the bases. With the tying run at the plate NIU pitcher Tom Zelasko induced a game-ending double play to record his first save of the year.
Senior Tyler Thornton suffered the loss, surrendering two runs in four innings of work.
The Braves return to action today, opening up a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series at 4 p.m. against Wichita State at O’Brien Field.
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