PEORIA, Ill. – Freshman second baseman Nolan Sponsler was 5-for-7 with a double in each game and three runs batted in, leading Bradley (14-22) to a doubleheader sweep of SIU Edwardsville (9-27) Wednesday evening at Peoria Chiefs Stadium.
In Wednesday’s opening game, Bradley pitchers Stephen Toma (3-2) and Peter Resnick combined on 2-hit shutout, leading the Braves to a 3-0 victory. Toma was in control through the first six innings, before the Cougars loaded the bases in the seventh with no outs on a double, an error and a walk. Resnick relieved and earned his first career save by ending the game on a pop out and two strikeouts.
The Braves got all the offense they needed in the third inning when David Compitello led off with a bunt single, stole second and scored on Sponsler’s double to right field. Sponsler added a 2-out single in the fifth, then stole second and scored on a Mike Tauchman single to right. Greg Partyka completed the scoring with his third home run of the year to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
Sponsler was 2-for-3 in the opener, while Tauchman extended his hitting streak to seven games with a 1-for-2 showing.
Bradley took the nightcap, 6-5, getting the offense started in a similar fashion as the first game. Right fielder Brady Wilkin opened the home half of the third with a bunt single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Sponsler’s second double of the day. Sponsler made it 2-0 when he took third on a Tauchman ground out and scored on a Max Murphy ground out.
After SIUE answered with their first run of the day in the top of the fourth, the Braves added two more runs in the fourth and fifth innings to build a 6-1 lead, then held off a late Cougars rally.
Freshman right-hander Eric Scheuermann (3-3) evened his record by allowing only one run on one hit in his 5.0 innings of work. The Cougars touched the Bradley bullpen for four runs on five hits, a walk and a hit batter, but Andy Johnson got the final three outs in the seventh to earn his first save of the year.
While Tauchman (0-for-4) saw his modest hitting streak come to an end, freshman first baseman Elliot Ashbeck made the most of his first career start in the field by going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI single. For the game, Bradley’s four freshman position players – Sponsler (3-for-4), Wilkin (2-for-3), Ashbeck (2-for-3) and shortstop Tyler Leffler (1-for-1, 2 walks) – combined to go 8-for-11 with two walks, five RBI’s and five runs scored.
The Braves will continue their season-long, 12-game home stand Friday by hosting Interstate 74 rival Illinois State in the first game of a weekend series at Peoria Chiefs Stadium. Friday’s first game is slated for a 6 p.m. start and will feature a $1 concessions promotion (hot dogs and soda).