TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Bradley scored seven times in its final three at-bats to earn its 11th come-from-behind win of the season and salvage the series finale in the league-opening weekend, earning a 9-8 victory at Indiana State (19-11, 2-1 MVC) Sunday afternoon at Bob Warn Field.
The Braves (19-11, 1-2 MVC) snapped their season-long, 3-game losing streak by overcoming a 5-2 deficit after six innings. Bradley scored four in the seventh to take a 6-5 lead, only to see the Sycamores reclaim the lead, 7-6, with two runs of their own in the home half of the seventh. Bradley pulled even, 7-7, with one run in the top of the eighth, but again saw Indiana State answer with a run in the bottom half. After the Braves scored twice in the ninth, though, junior pitcher Justin Ziegler (2-1) worked around a pair of Sycamore singles in ISU's final at-bat to close the door on Bradley's first Valley win of the year.
Indiana State closer Blake Drake (1-3), who earned the save in each of the first two games of the weekend, was given the chance for a third save when he entered to start the ninth and the Sycamores leading 8-7. But he walked Rob Elliott and Mike Tauchman to open the frame, before giving way to Greg Kuhlman. Designated hitter Austin Jarvis, moved the runners with a sacrifice bunt before Kuhlman intentionally walked first baseman Jerrod Eigsti to load the bases.
Catcher Derek Sprout drew the inning's fourth walk to force home Elliott with the tying run, and after Brett Merkley replaced Kuhlman, shortstop Jason Leblebijian drove home the final go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Nine different Braves collected hits Sunday as Bradley outhit Indiana State, 12-9. Tauchman was 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two runs batted in. Right fielder Bob Schuch (2-for-3) and catcher Derek Sprout (2-for-4) also both collected two hits and a walk, scoring once and driving in a run.
Limited to three stolen bases and no sacrifices in the first two games, Bradley got its running game going Sunday. The Braves executed four sacrifice bunts and swiped six bases. Elliott stole three bases, equaling the second best single-game effort in program history.
The Braves will return to action Wednesday by visiting Western Illinois for a single game that will complete a 4-game season series. Bradley won 2-of-3 against the Leathernecks last weekend at O'Brien Field. Following the short road trip to Macomb, the Braves will open a season-long, 8-game home stand by hosting Illinois State April 15-17 at O'Brien Field.