SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Bradley joined the upset party Tuesday night when the seventh-seeded Braves (27-25-1) knocked off host and No. 2 seed Missouri State (37-19), 5-3, in the opening round of the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship.
Bradley will take on No. 6 seed Southern Illinois (29-27) in Wednesday's fourth second-round game, scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. first pitch at Hammons Field. The Salukis advanced to the winner's bracket game with a 6-3 upset of No. 3 seed Wichita State Tuesday evening.
All of the preliminary round games are being streamed live on ESPN3.com, beginning with the 9 a.m. elimination game between Evansville and Indiana State. Missouri State and Wichita State will square off in the second eliminiation game at 12:30 p.m., followed by the first winner's bracket game between Illinois State and Creighton at 4 o'clock.
Bradley rallied for three runs in its final two at-bats Tuesday night against the Bears, taking its first lead of the game on left fielder Mike Tauchman's 2-run single in the ninth inning. Aided in part by a diving catch from freshman center fielder Max Murhphy for the second out in the bottom of the ninth, Patrick Flanagan (3-3) worked two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Starter Joe Bircher allowed three runs in 7.0 innings and struck out nine to push his school-record career strikeouts total to 302 and move into a tie for second place on the school's single-season list with 113 strikeouts.
Murphy's catch was featured as the No. 9 play in ESPN SportsCenter's popular Top 10 Plays nightly highlight package.