MILLINGTON, Tenn. -- Bradley senior Jim Clayton (Chatham, Ill./Southeast Missouri State/Glenwood H.S.) singled down the left field line to score senior Adam Kimble (Minooka, Ill.Minooka H.S.) in the top of the 10th inning, helping Bradley to a 9-8 win in 10 innings against Pittsburgh in the debut game for first-year Bradley head coach Elvis Dominguez. The win came during the opening round of the Service Academy Spring Classic at USA Stadium.
Kimble drew a walk to start the 10th inning and later moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Brett Hendricks (Wildwood, Mo./Lafayette Senior H.S.) before Clayton’s run-scoring hit gave the Braves the lead. Senior first baseman/outfielder Grant Escue (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) added a grand slam and drove in five runs and junior right-hander Rob Scahill (Lombard, Ill./Willowbrook H.S.) turned in seven solid innings.
Scahill retired the first 12 hitters he faced and ended his day allowing three runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts in his 6.0 innings of work. Scahill lost his bid for the win, however, when Pittsburgh forced extra innings by scoring two runs in the ninth against senior righty Bryan Porter. Porter recoverd to earn the victory on the mound for the Braves after pitching a scoreless 10th inning.
Unable to take advantage of run-scoring situations in both the first and third innings, Bradley finaly broke through in the fourth inning by taking full advantage of a bases-loaded, no outs situation. Shortstop Tommy Fitzgerald drove home Bradley’s first run of the season wtih an opposite field single to left and Escue came through with his fourth career home run with a blast to right field to give the Braves a 5-0 lead.
Perfect through the first four innings, Scahill ran into trouble in the fifth after giving up a leadoff single to Pitt first baseman Morgan Kielty. Scahill walked the next two batters to load the bases and second baseman Chris Sedon brought home the Panthers’ first run of the year with a single through the left side. Scahill nearly escaped the inning without any more damage by striking out the next two hitters, but shortstop Danny Lopez delivered a 2-run single to center to pull Pittsburgh to within 5-3.
After Scahill bounced back with another perfect inning in the sixth, the Braves created another bases-loaded situation in the top of the seventh. Jordan Colvin led off with a single, followed by consecutive walks to Clayton and Fitzgerald. Second baseman Matt Fritz, who led the team by getting hit with 16 pitches last season, was plunked for the first time this year to bring home Colvin. Escue made it a five RBI game by following with a sacrifice fly for a 7-3 Bradley advantage and Mitidiero delivered a run-scoring single to help the Braves regain their 5-run advantage, 8-3.
Senior Tyler Thornton relieved Scahill to start the bottom of the seventh, but surrendered three runs on four hits and a hit batter as Pittsburgh pulled back to within 8-6. The fifth-year senior worked out of a jam in the eighth, however, working around a leadoff error and hit batter to preserve the 2-run advantage. Thornton got Sedon to hit into a double play and got catcher Cory Brownsten to pop out to escape the inning unscathed.
Porter relieved Thornton to start the ninth and put himself in trouble by giving up a leadoff walk. Left fielder John Schultz came through with a one-out, RBI triple to get the Panthers within 8-7. Porter struck out third baseman Joe Leonard, but his wild pitch allowed Schultz to plate the tying run.