Bradley Makes B1G Visit
Game 20 • at Iowa • Wednesday, March 26 • 3 p.m. CDT
Iowa City, Iowa • Duane Banks Field
Bradley will try to match its best 20-game start since 1993 when the Braves visit Iowa in a midweek, non-conference baseball game at Duane Banks Field ... The Braves also will be trying for their third straight win against the Hawkeyes, as well as their fourth consecutive win against the Big Ten Conference in their final road game before making a fourth attempt at opening their home schedule this weekend.
|Live Coverage||Bradley (14-5) at Iowa (14-6)|
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Bradley leads 35-34-2
Bradley is 17-15-2 at Iowa
Streak: Bradley has won three straight
Elvis Dominguez vs. Iowa: 2-0
Rick Heller vs. Bradley: 31-15
In the 2000’s: Bradley leads 3-2
First Meeting on Record
4-29-1930 at Iowa L 2-3
4-18-2012 at Iowa W 7-3
4-24-2012 Dozer Park W 7-3
Familiar BIg Ten Foe
Bradley will play its 20th game away from home in as many outings Wednesday when the Braves visit Big Ten Conference member Iowa for a 3 p.m. game at Banks Field ... Wednesday’s game will be the 72nd meeting between the two programs since 1930 and Bradley owns a 35-34-2 edge against the Hawkeyes ... Iowa is under the direction of longtime Missouri Valley Conference coach Rick Heller, who was the head coach at Northern Iowa from 1999-2009 and Indiana State from 2009-13 ... Sixth-year Bradley head coach Elvis Dominguez was an assistant coach at Iowa from 1998-2001.
Including a sweep of the 2-game, home-and-home series against Iowa in 2012, Bradley is 6-2 in its last eight games against Big Ten Conference schools ... Bradley has won three straight against the Big Ten and will be trying for a fourth consecutive win against the league for the first time since a 5-game streak from 2003-05 ... Although Bradley is 110-151-4 all-time against current Big Ten Conference schools, the Braves are 16-12 against the neighboring league in the 2000’s.
Bradley takes a 14-5 record into its 20th game of the season ... Since Bradley regularly began playing games in March in 1974, the Braves have won as many as 14 of their first 20 games just seven times in the last 41 seasons.
If Bradley manages a win Wednesday at Iowa, it will match the earliest date in program history for Bradley’s 15th win ... The 2005 Braves improved to 15-5 on March 26 with a 6-4 win at Indiana State (then coached by current Iowa skipper Rick Heller) ... Bradley has won its 15th game in the month of March just four times in program history: 2005 (March 26), 1996 (March 31), 1987 (March 28) and 1986 (March 31).
On The Road Again
Wednesday’s game will be Bradley’s 11th true road game and its 20th game away from home to start the season ... Bradley is 7-3 in true road games, just one win shy of matching last year’s road win total (8-16) ... Bradley’s first home game of the season Friday will come in its 21st game of the season, matching last season for the latest home start by number of games since 1987 (24th game).
As of Tuesday morning, five Missouri Valley Conference teams ranked among the top 100 of the RPI, as calculated and posted at WarrenNolan.com: Indiana State (25), Wichita State (37), Bradley (53), Illinois State (60) and Evansville (99) ... Dallas Baptist joins the quintet in the Nolan Power Index, where Bradley ranks 13th: Indiana State (10), Bradley (13), Illinois State (30), Wichita State (45), Dallas Baptist (65), Evansville (89) ... The Valley ranks sixth in conference RPI and second in conference NPI.
As the week began, Bradley ranked among the nation’s top 50 in 13 different statistical categories tracked by the NCAA, including five in the top 20 ... Most notably, Bradley ranked fourth in stolen bases per game (2.53), fifth in doubles per game (2.42) and 10th in on-base percentage (.412) ... Individually, seven different Braves rank among the nation’s top 50 in 15 different stat categories, led by junior CF Isaac Smith, who is third nationally in batting with a .481 average.
Another National Batting Champ?
Former Bradley outfielder Mike Tauchman was named the 2013 Joe Carter MVC Player of the Year after leading the nation in hitting with a .425 batting average ... As this week began, two more Braves are in the early hunt for the 2014 NCAA Division I batting title ... Junior CF Isaac Smith began the week ranked third nationally with a .481 average, while sophomore SS Tyler Leffler was 26th nationally with a .418 average ... Smith and Leffler are the top two hitters in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Getting On Base
Junior OF Max Murphy has reached base safely in each of the season’s first 19 games... Murphy is batting .338 and has drawn 15 walks with six hit-by-pitches for a .479 on-base percentage ... Murphy has reached base safely in 106 of his 122 career games ... While Murphy has been on base in every game this season, OF Isaac Smith leads The Valley and is tied for 10th nationally with a .556 on-base percentage, while SS Tyler Leffler is tied for 14th nationally at .552.
Bradley has fallen behind in 13 of the season’s first 19 games, but the Braves have rallied from behind in eight of their 14 wins ... Through 19 games, Bradley is outscoring the opposition by a slim 60-58 margin through five innings ... The Braves have turned the tide after the fifth, however, by outscoring their opponents by a whopping 77-27 advantage from the sixth inning on ... Bradley’s 77 runs after the fifth are more than 57 of the nation’s 296 Division I teams had scored in total ... Bradley is 7-4 when trailing (5-4) or tied (2-0) after six innings this season.
Streaking Sophomores Bookend Week
Sophomore pitchers Elliot Ashbeck and Cameron Roegner both are working on a pair of impressive streaks of consecutive scoreless innings … Ashbeck started last week’s schedule by throwing 7.0 scoreless innings in Bradley’s eventual 5-3 win against Illinois-Springfield … Ashbeck enters Wednesday’s start working on a streak of 16.0 consecutive scoreless innings, which has helped him improve to 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA … Roegner improved to 4-0 and lowered his season ERA to 0.90 by throwing 6.2 scoreless innings Saturday versus Illinois State, running his streak to 14.1 innings without allowing a run.
Balls And Strikes
Bradley has returned 13 of its 16 pitchers from the 2013 season, yet the staff has experienced a complete turnaround through the first month of the 2014 campaign ... As the weekend begins, Bradley ranks among the nation’s top 50 in Strikeouts-to-Walk ratio, Fewest Walks per 9 Innings and Strikeouts per 9 Innings ... Through 19 games, Bradley’s pitching staff now is 14-5 with a 3.95 ERA, boasting a .250 opponent batting average, 52 walks and 143 strikeouts ... The 2013 staff finished 17-32 with a 6.37 ERA, .296 opponent batting average, 246 walks and 329 strikeouts.
During the first 19 games of the season, the Bradley bullpen is 7-1 with five saves and a 3.21 ERA, having allowed only 67 hits and 24 walks against 67 strikeouts in its 73.0 total innings ... By comparison, the opponent bullpens have combined to go 1-6 with three saves and a 7.25 ERA, allowing 89 hits with 51 walks and 43 strikeouts in 67.0 innings.
Braves Run Wild
Bradley has swiped 48 bases in 57 attempts during the first 19 games of the season ... The Braves began the week ranked fourth nationally by averaging 2.53 steals per game ... The 48 steals already are more than Bradley’s 2012 (41) season total and put the Braves on pace for 126 steals in their 50 scheduled games, which would obliterate tha 1956 school record of 99 stolen bases ... 2B Chris Godinez and OF Isaac Smith both are tied for 21st nationally with 12 steals.
Murphy Producing Runs
Junior OF Max Murphy has produced 40 runs through the season’s first 19 games ... Murphy leads the Braves in both runs scored (23) and runs batted in (20) ... Murphy contributed to both totals with his team-leading three home runs, reducing his total number of runs produced to 40 ...
Chasing The Top 10
Senior DH Greg Partyka is Bradley’s active leader in most every significant offensive category, but is closing in on Bradley’s top 10 for career runs batted in ... Partyka begins the week with 103 RBI’s, leaving him 23 shy of the 10th-place tie between Matt Rader (1993-96) and Eric Kuhlman (1985-88), each with 126 ... Currently eighth on Bradley’s career RBI’s list, Ryan Curry is the only player to crack the top 10 in this milineum (2001-present).
National Player of the Week
Junior OF Max Murphy collected a pair of national player-of-the-week honors March 3-4, following his performance during the Austin Peay Riverview Inn Classic ... Murphy hit .500 (6-12) with six runs scored and six RBI’s in the event’s three games ... Most notably, he tied the Bradley single-game records for home runs and total bases (12) by slugging three homers in the 11-5 win against Dayton March 1 ... In addition to being selected the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, Murphy was named a national Player-of-the-Week by Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger and the NCAA.
Bradley will make its fourth attempt to open its 2014 home schedule this weekend, when the Braves welcome Missouri Valley Conference first-year affiiate member Dallas Baptist to Dozer Park ... The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a free Bradley window cling for Friday’s 6 p.m. game ... Following Saturday’s 2 p.m. game, all children in eighth grade and younger will be allowed to run the bases ... Prior to Sunday’s game, all children in eighth grade and younger will be allowed to take the field for the Braves for the playing of the national anthem.