One week after Bradley’s baseball team surrendered 30 runs in a loss to Grand Canyon, Bradley’s pitchers re-wrote the history books again. This time, however, in a good way.
In a three-game series this past weekend, the Braves did not allow a run to an opponent for three consecutive games for the first time since 1993.
They also shutout the same team in three consecutive games for the first time since completing a sweep of Wheaton College in 1961.
Head coach Elvis Dominguez said the extremely different outcomes from both weekends are simply part of the sport.
“That’s just baseball,” Dominguez said. “Here we are a weekend later, and we don’t give up a run in three games.”
The first game of the series featured junior pitcher Elliot Ashbeck, who threw eight scoreless innings while allowing one hit in a 5-0 victory. That performance garnered him the title of Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) pitcher of the week.
“Ashbeck was just dominating,” Dominguez said. “He threw a one-hitter, which in some cases is unheard of in college baseball.”
Following a win on Friday, junior Steven Atkins got the start for the Braves. Atkins threw six scoreless innings, while Cameron Roegner and Matt Dennis finished the final three innings, protecting a one-run lead to win 1-0.
On the final game Sunday, Ashbeck got the offense started from the other side of the plate, where he scored the game’s first run on an RBI single in the second. Sophomore Carson Weber continued the offensive attack with a fourth inning RBI double that drove in two runs. Starter Brent Strong would pitch eight innings, and senior Stephen Toma earned the save as the Braves went on to win on Sunday 5-0 to complete the sweep.
Dominguez said that after the debacle against Grand Canyon the pitching staff felt like they had a chip on their shoulder despite trying to focus on the positives.
“We did win two out of three while we were in Phoenix,” Dominguez said. “The week for them leading up to that, they felt like they had something to prove, and boy, did they ever.”
Although the Braves looked almost flawless against McNeese State, they did not come out of the weekend unscathed. Even with players like outfielder Isaac Smith and catcher Drew Carlile suffering injuries in the previous week, third baseman Stephen Gaa injured his hamstring in Friday’s win against McNeese State.
Dominguez said that these injuries are the kind that need to be treated with caution.
“It’s all lower extremities,” Dominguez said. “You’ve got to go on a day-to-day basis, and hopefully they can bounce back and be ready to go for at least one of the games.”
This weekend, the Braves travel plans saw change when inclement weather forced the series at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) to move to Louisiana in order to avoid the incoming snow.
This extends a six-hour bus ride into a 13-hour one, but Dominguez said he knows that these are the kinds of changes he needs to accomodate.
“It is what it is,” Dominguez said. “We’ll do whatever we have to do to try and get the games in.”
The Braves series against SEMO begins today at 11 a.m. and concludes with a doubleheader that begins tomorrow at 1 p.m.