The Braves baseball team traveled down to Florida for Spring Break and returned with some hot bats and five consecutive wins.
Bradley went 5-0 during the week against good competition, according to head coach Elvis Dominguez. The Braves swepts Bucknell three days starting March 12, by margins of 12-4, 8-2 and 10-8. The Braves defeated Lehigh 2-1 a day later on March 16 and defeated Dartmouth 7-2 a day after.
“We’re starting to make some real strides,” freshman outfielder Andy Shadid, who is currently on a 10-game hitting streak, said. “Our offense really took off, and our defense and pitching has been solid.”
Dominguez said the biggest things that went right over break were their hitting and getting used to playing regularly.
“We really got the bats going offensively,” Dominguez said. “Playing consistently is important in baseball. Now we’re actually playing some games in a row, and we were able to get into a routine, and that has benefited us.”
Two more games against Brown and Central Florida were scheduled for Saturday, March 19, but were rained out.
The Braves made the trip to Iowa on Tuesday, but they suffered a tough loss after a walk-off single by the University of Iowa to halt their five-game winning streak.
Bradley earned 13 hits in the game and was up 5-1 after three innings, but managed to leave runners in scoring position in the next six innings. Iowa crawled back and eventually tied the game up in the ninth, and the Braves gave up a single with a runner on second to lose the game 7-6.
“This is the first time in almost a year that we lost a game in the ninth inning,” Dominguez said. “We just got beat. That’s what can happen in baseball. You can be up 20 runs, but if you don’t take care of business, you’ll lose. You never know what’s going to happen until the last out.”
Going forward, the biggest challenge for the Braves will be dealing with injuries. However, Dominguez didn’t specify which players were injured.
“We had to endure some injuries, but that’s just part of the game,” Dominguez said. “We have some guys that aren’t 100 percent, so we’ll just have to move some guys around and stay competitive.”
The Braves travel to Indianapolis over the weekend to play two games against Butler and Western Michigan.
“We want to play our best and keep playing Bradley baseball,” Shadid said. “Once we polish up a few things, the sky’s the limit for us.”