PEORIA, Ill. - Freshman outfielder Mike Tauchman (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.) went 4-for-4 and sophomore left-hander Joe Bircher (Omaha, Neb./Roncalli Catholic H.S.) pitched 8.0 scoreless innings as Bradley (7-17, 1-6 MVC) blanked Missouri State (12-17, 1-3 MVC) 7-0 in Missouri Valley Conference action Friday night at O'Brien Field. The win snapped Bradley's nine-game losing streak and gave the Braves their first conference victory of the season.
Bradley struck first in the bottom of the third with two runs on two hits. Senior infielder Matt Fritz (Northbrook, Ill./DePauw University/Glenbrook North H.S.) led off the inning with a single up the middle and stole second. After a walk to sophomore infielder Rob Elliott (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley H.S.), junior outfielder Brian Martin (Glen Ellyn, Ill./College of DuPage/Lombard Montini Catholic H.S.) moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Bradley's next batter, sophomore designated hitter Brad Kimball (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley H.S.), ripped a two-run single to left field to give the Braves a 2-0 edge.
Tauchman opened the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast to left-center field to make the score 3-0. The homerun was Tauchman's second long ball in as many games. After an unearned run in the fifth, Tauchman led off the sixth with a double to left field and advanced to third on a sac bunt by senior first baseman Mike McMillan (Bloomington, Ill./Normal University H.S.). With the Missouri State infield drawn in, freshman infielder Jason Leblebijian (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) ripped a single up the middle that scored Tauchman and gave Bradley a 5-0 lead. Fritz capped the sixth with a two-run homer to left-center field to make it a 7-0 game.
Bircher (2-3) scattered eight hits, struck out 10 and walked one in 8.0 innings of work to earn the win, while freshman right-hander Gus DeQuesada (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus H.S.) stuck out the side in the ninth. Fritz and Martin each finished with three hits.
Bradley and Missouri State will continue their three-game series Saturday, April 10 with game two at 4 p.m.