PEORIA, Ill. - Western Illinois collected a season-high 15 hits and used a four-run seventh inning to pull out a 10-3 victory against Bradley in the second game of a three-game series at O'Brien Field Saturday afternoon.
The Braves (16-8 overall) managed just five hits against the Leathernecks and committed five errors in the setback which snapped a 10-game win streak in the series. Western Illinois (6-18 overall) never trailed in the game and slugged out five hits during the four-run seventh inning to pull out the victory.
The Leathernecks got on the board in the top of the second after Bryan Jordan ripped a one-out single up the middle and came around to score on a single to center by Anthony Kaskadden. Ryan Cowhey followed with a two-out double to left center to drive in Kaskadden and give the Leathernecks a 2-0 lead.
The Braves scored a pair of runs without a hit in the bottom of the third to pull even at 2-2. David Compitello (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg) reached on an error and sophomore Bob Schuch (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice) drew a walk. It appeared Western Illinois starter Zach Sterling was going to get out of the inning unscathed, but the Leathernecks second error in the inning allowed a pair of runs to cross.
In the top of the fifth, Cowhey drew a one-out walk and ended up at third after a stolen base and BU error. He later scored on a wild pitch to put Western Illinois back in front 3-2.
Bradley pushed another unearned run across in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore Jason Leblebijian (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect) reached on an error and advanced all the way to third on a dropped fly ball in center field. Leblebijian later tied the score at 3-3, racing home on a wild pitch.
Tied at 3-3, Western Illinois took control of the game in the seventh with a four-run inning. Dan Dispensa led off with a double off the wall in right and WIU had runners at first and third after a bunt single by Matt Igara. John Koszulinski hit a single to right field to drive in Dispensa from third with the go-ahead run and two more runs came across on an Austin Cowen single to center.
The Braves turned a double play with the bases loaded, but the Leathernecks added another run on an infield single by Kaskadden from third to push the lead to 7-3.
The Leathernecks added three more runs in the top of the eighth en route to the 10-3 victory. Western Illinois starter Zach Sterling gave up four hits and three unearned runs over six innings to even his record at 2-2 with the win. He struck out eight and walked four. Ryan Wachholder pitched three scoreless innings in relief to earn his first save of the season.
Sophomore John Nasshan (Niles, Ill./Niles West) gave up six hits and three runs in six innings of work before leaving the game in the seventh. Junior Nick Gross (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew/Prairie State) took the loss in relief of Nasshan to drop to 0-1 on the year.
Bradley and Western Illinois close out the three-game series Sunday with a 1 p.m. game at O'Brien Field.