DAYTON, Ohio - Three Bradley pitchers combined on a 3-hit shutout and the Braves (10-3) swiped more bases than in any game in the last 58 years en route to a 5-0 win against Dayton (3-9) Sunday afternoon at Wright State's Nischwitz Stadium.
Sophomore righthander Elliot Ashbeck (2-0) allowed only two singles and a walk while striking out a career-best nine batters in a career-best 7.2 innings pitched. Cody Kentzel got the final out of the eighth after he and Ashbeck both surrendered walks and freshman Matt Dennis struck out two in the ninth to close out the win.
Max Murphy and Isaac Smith both swiped three bases, while Chris Godinez added two stolen bases and Spencer Gaa one as Bradley's nine stolen bases were the most by the Braves in a game since a 1956 contest against Drake.
Bradley, which has come from behind to win eight times in the young season, grabbed the lead in the fifth inning on Gaa's RBI infield single and the Braves led the rest of the way. Austin Jarvis added a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Murphy a RBI single in the seventh. Evan Gruener provided insurance in the eighth with an RBI triple, the scored on Smith's single to complete the scoring.
Ashbeck had never worked more than 3.2 innings or struck out more than three in any of his 20 previous pitching appearances. On Sunday, he allowed only two singles to Dayton catcher Zach Schira until giving up a 2-out walk in the eighth to end his day. The Flyers threatened in the second by putting their first two runners on, thanks to an error and a Schira single, but after a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position with one out, Ashbeck got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.
The shutout is Bradley's first since a 3-0 win in the first game of a doubleheader versus SIU Edwardsville April 24, 2013, a 7-inning effort, and the first in a 9-inning game since a 7-0 win at Lipscomb March 15, 2013.
Bradley's two leading hitters coming into the game, Smith (.424) and Leffler (.419) both went 2-for-3 Sunday to lead Bradley's 8-hit attack.
Bradley will return to action Wednesday by visiting Saint Louis for a 3 p.m. game at the Billiken Sports Center. The Braves are scheduled to open the home schedule Saturday against Northern Illinois, though Dozer Park's field conditions are not expected to be playable due to the extreme winter that has hit the Midwest and preparations are being made to move the series to the artificial surface of the Corn Crib in Normal, Ill.