The baseball team traveled to Florida to play in the Russmat Baseball 2010 Central Florida Invitational last week.
The Braves dropped three of their five games in the event by a total of just four runs.
In the first game of the invitational, Bradley faced the Indiana Hoosiers. The Braves led Indiana 5-1 through six innings behind a strong pitching performance from Eric Holmes. The junior left-hander allowed no earned runs and gave up just four hits in six innings of work.
In the next three innings, senior relief pitchers Brad Altbach and Kori Johnson combined to give up four runs and the Hoosiers tied the game at five in the top ninth with a solo homerun.
The Braves loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with just one out, but sophomore Phil Kaiser grounded into an inning-ending double play to thwart the rally.
In the top of the 10th inning, the Hoosiers strung three singles in a row to score what turned out to be the winning run. Bradley had runners on second and third with two outs but wasn’t able to score, losing to Indiana 6-5.
The next day, the Braves looked to avenge their loss when they faced the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Through four and a half innings, neither team had scored until NJIT plated three runs off Bradley junior pitcher Patrick Cooper.
The Braves scored runs in the sixth and ninth, but it wasn’t enough as Bradley lost 4-2.
In their third and fourth games of the invitational, the Braves played a double header against Army.
Bradley won 8-6 in the first game behind six Army errors. The Braves led by as many as seven runs.
Junior outfielder Brian Martin went 3-for-4 and recorded his second triple of the season. Johnson also notched his first save of the year.
In the second game of the double header, the Braves won a pitcher’s duel behind six innings of one-run baseball from sophomore pitcher Jacob Booden.
Seniors Matt Fritz and Mike McMillan as well as Martin and sophomore Rob Elliot each contributed two hits.
In its final game of the invitational, Bradley again lost a one-run game.
Freshman pitcher Andy Johnson and sophomore pitcher Justin Ziegler combined to only allowed two runs, but the Braves only managed one run to lose to Dartmouth 2-1.
Fritz said despite the team’s early struggles he is confident the team can win.
“Overall our team is very good, one of the most talented teams I’ve played on,” he said. “The only thing keeping us from being great is putting it all together, but as you will soon see we are about to do that.”