Home Opener Vs. Valley Newcomer
Games 21-23 • Friday 6 p.m. • Saturday 2 p.m. • Sunday 1 p.m.
Peoria, Ill. • Dozer Park
Bradley will make its 2014 home debut by hosting first-year Missouri Valley Conference affiliate Dallas Baptist in its first-ever MVC series this weekend at Dozer Park ... For the second year in a row, Bradley has played its first 20 games away from home, matching the most games away from home to start a season since 1987 (23, 16-7) - the Braves also played their first 20 games away from home in 1997 (7-13) and 2013 (9-11) ... Dallas Baptist swept a 3-game series at Missouri State March 14-15, but the road series did not count in The Valley race as DBU will host the Bears in a counting league series May 2-4.
|Live Coverage||Dallas Baptist (17-7, 0-0 MVC) at Bradley (15-5, 1-2 MVC)|
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$3 Youth (K-12)
Free BU Students, Faculty, Staff and Active Military
$14 Family Pass
Dallas Baptist leads 2-1
Dallas Baptist leads 2-1 at Bradley
Streak: Dallas Baptist W1
Elvis Dominguez vs. DBU: 1-2
Dan Heefner vs. Bradley: 2-1
In the 2000’s: DBU leads 2-1
5-17-2012 Dozer Park L 4-5
5-17-2012 Dozer Park L 4-5
5-18-2012 Dozer Park W 12-7
5-19-2012 Dozer Park L 7-16
Dallas Baptist made a test drive of The Valley in 2012, including a 2-games-to-1 series win at Bradley May 17-19 in the only previous meetings between the two programs ... In addition to its non-conference series at Missouri State two weeks ago, Dallas Baptist was swept in a 3-game series in 2013 against the team it is replacing in The Valley, Creighton ... The Patriots were 14-7 in their 2012 MVC trial run, giving DBU a 17-10 record against MVC competition the last three years as it prepares for its first Valley series.
Kids Super Weekend
This weekend’s series versus Dallas Baptist is being promoted as a Kids Super Weekend at 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.
MVC First Series
This weekend’s series versus Dallas Baptist is Bradley’s first against a Missouri Valley Conference newcomer since the Braves split a 4-game home series versus Evansville April 1-2, 1995 ... The Braves swept a 3-game home series versus 1992 Valley newcomer Northern Iowa and were swept in a 4-game road series at 1991 MVC newbie Missouri State in 1991.
Bradley completed the first 20 games of the 2014 season with a 15-5 record ... Since Bradley regularly began playing games in March in 1974, the Braves have won as many as 15 of their first 20 games just six times in the last 41 seasons, most recently with a similar 15-5 start in 2005.
Bradley has matched the earliest date in program history for its 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).
Home Opener - Take 4
After three previous failed attempts due to the harsh winter that affected field conditions, Bradley is making its fourth attempt at opening the home schedule this weekend against Dallas Baptist ... As the 21st game of the season, Friday’s game matches last season for the latest home start by number of games since 1987 (24th game) ... Bradley’s 15 wins away from home, 8-3 in road games and 7-2 at neutral sites, already has surpassed its season win totals in games played away from home in five of the last six seasons: 2013 (11), 2011 (14), 2010 (8), 2009 (7), 2008 (13).
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 ranked among the nation’s top 50 in 15 different stat categories, led by junior CF Isaac Smith, who was third nationally in batting.
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 (.474) and Leffler (.400) are the top two hitters in the Missouri Valley Conference going into the weekend.
As of Thursday morning, four Missouri Valley Conference teams ranked among the top 100 of the RPI, as calculated and posted at WarrenNolan.com - Indiana State (20), Wichita State (50), Bradley (52) and Illinois State (73) - while Missouri State (103) and Evansville (106) are flirting with the top 100 ... Dallas Baptist and Evansville join the quartet of RPI top 100 Valley teams in the top 100 of the Nolan Power Index, where Bradley paces the league: Bradley (5), Indiana State (11), Illinois State (42), Dallas Baptist (49), Wichita State (59), Evansville (92) ... The Valley ranks sixth in conference RPI and second in conference NPI.
Getting On Base
Junior OF Max Murphy has reached base safely in each of the season’s first 20 games... Murphy is batting .329 and has drawn 15 walks with six hit-by-pitches for a .465 on-base percentage ... Murphy has reached base safely in 107 of his 123 career games ... While Murphy has been on base in every game this season, OF Isaac Smith began the week leading The Valley and tied for 10th nationally with a .556 on-base percentage, while SS Tyler Leffler was tied for 14th at .552.
Bradley has fallen behind in 13 of the season’s first 20 games, but the Braves have rallied from behind in eight of their 15 wins ... Through 20 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 84-27 advantage from the sixth inning on ... Bradley’s 77 runs after the fifth to start the week were 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.
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 20 games, Bradley’s pitching staff now is 15-5 with a 3.75 ERA, boasting a .247 opponent batting average,5352 walks and 146 strikeouts ... The 2013 staff finished 17-32 with a 6.37 ERA, .296 opponent batting average, 246 walks and 329 strikeouts.
Streaking Sophomores Hurlers
Sophomore pitchers Elliot Ashbeck and Cameron Roegner both are working on a pair of impressive streaks of consecutive scoreless innings … Ashbeck threw a career-best 8.0 scoreless innings Wednesday at Iowa, extending his personal streak to 24.0 consecutive scoreless innings … Ashbeck’s latest effort improved his record to 4-0 with a 1.29 earned run average … Sunday’s scheduled starter, Roegner improved to 4-0 and lowered his season ERA to 0.90 by throwing 6.2 scoreless innings last Saturday versus Illinois State, running his streak to 14.1 innings without allowing a run.
During the first 20 games of the season, the Bradley bullpen is 7-1 with five saves and a 3.16 ERA, having allowed only 68 hits and 24 walks against 67 strikeouts in its 74.0 total innings ... By comparison, the opponent bullpens have combined to go 1-7 with three saves and a 7.42 ERA, allowing 96 hits with 54 walks and 49 strikeouts in 74.0 innings.
Braves Run Wild
Bradley has swiped 49 bases in 58 attempts during the first 20 games of the season ... The Braves began the week ranked fourth nationally by averaging 2.53 steals per game ... The 49 steals already are more than Bradley’s 2012 (41) season total and put the Braves on pace for 122 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 began the week tied for 21st nationally with 12 steals.
Murphy Producing Runs
Junior OF Max Murphy has produced 42 runs through the season’s first 20 games ... Murphy leads the Braves in both runs scored (24) and runs batted in (22) ... Murphy has contributed to both totals with his team-leading four home runs, reducing his total number of runs produced to 42, second-most in The Valley behind only preseason All-American Casey Gillaspie of Wichita State (43).
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 weekend 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.
Following this weekend’s series versus Dallas Baptist, Bradley will close out its first home stand of the season Wednesday night by hosting Iowa in the second half of their home-and-home series ... The Braves have won three straight against the Hawkeyes and four in a row overall against the Big Ten Conference ... Bradley will resume its Valley schedule next weekend with three games at Southern Illinois April 4-6.