KENNESAW, Ga. - Junior righthander John Nasshan (1-0) threw 6.2 strong innings, freshman center fielder Max Murphy hit his first career home run and Bradley (1-1) held off host Kennesaw State (0-1) for its first win of the 2012 season Friday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium.
Nasshan scattered six hits, struck out four and allowed three runs before giving way to the Braves bullpen. Senior righthander Jacob Booden got a strikeout to end the seventh with the tying run at third base and worked a perfect eighth inning before turning things over to fellow senior righty Danny Gifford, who worked a perfect ninth to earn his first career save.
Kennesaw State took the game's first lead after center fielder Will Howard's double to open the bottom of the second. Howard took third on a Peyton Hart flyout and scored on a Max Pentecost ground out.
The Braves countered with three runs in the top of the fourth after each of the inning's first five hitters reached base. Rob Elliott and Mike Tauchman each singled and shortstop Jason Leblebijian followed with an RBI double to forge a 1-1 tie.
After catcher Derek Sprout walked to load the bases, right fielder Bob Schuch put the Braves in front by hitting a ground ball that Owls second baseman Andy Almonte could not handle. Jerrod Eigsti's ground ball double play plated Leblebijian for a 3-1 Bradley lead.
Murphy gave the Braves a necessary insurance run when he led off the fifth with his first career home run, a solo blast to left center for a 4-1 lead.
Kennesaw State chipped away with single runs in the sixth and seventh, before Booden and Gifford shut the door.Bradley began Friday's action with a 6-4 loss to Virginia Tech and will face the Hokies again Saturday morning in a game scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (EST), two hours earlier than originally scheduled, due to expected afternoon rain. Senior right-hander Justin Ziegler, who tied Bradley's single-season school record with eight saves as the Braves closer last season, is expected to get the start against the Hokies. Senior lefthander Tory Doerr (2-4 in 2011) is the scheduled starter for Sunday's weekend finale against Kennesaw State.