SAUGET, Ill. -- Bradley pounded out 16 hits and three Braves pitchers kept host Saint Louis (8-7) off the board until two outs in the ninth inning en route to a 9-1 win Tuesday night at GCS Ballpark.
Bradley (11-3) completed its season-opening 14-game road schedule with the team's best record since the 2005 squad also started 11-3 en route to a final 28-22 overall record. The Braves will open their 2014 home schedule Saturday by hosting Northern Illinois in a 3-game series that has been moved to the artificial surface at the Corn Crib minor league stadium in Normal, Ill., due to the unplayable conditions of the natural surface at Dozer Park. Saturday's series-opener against the Huskies is slated for a 7 p.m. start, but the Bradley-Northern Illinois game will follow an Illinois State softball game and Redbirds baseball doubleheader, a triple-header that will begin at noon at the Corn Crib.
Bradley began the week ranked among the nation's top 40 in 16 different statistical categories and the Braves improved on virtually all their numbers Tuesday night at Saint Louis. Bradley started the week 11th nationally with a .314 team batting average (16-40, .400), sixth with 2.84 doubles per game (3), sixth by averaging 8.3 runs per game (9) and seventh with a .423 on-base percentage (.490). The bottom five hitters in the lineup combined to go 13-for-23 at the plate with five runs scored and seven runs batted in to lead the offensive attack. Drew Carlile (3-for-5), Austin Jarvis (3-for-4) and Isaac Smith (3-for-5) all collected three hits.
Sophomore lefthander Cameron Roegner improved to 3-0 by scattering five hits with two strikeouts and no walks in the first 5.0 innings. John Nasshan added 2.0 innings of scoreless middle relief and Peter Resnick allowed only a single unearned run in his 2.0 innings of work to close out the game. Mike Vigliarolo was hit by a Resnick pitch to start the ninth, advanced to third on a one out infield single and throwing error, then scored on pinch-hitter Jeremy Phillips' ground out for the lone Billikens run to end the Bradley pitching staff's scoreless streak at 19.1 innings.
Bradley got all the offense it needed in the first inning. Chris Godinez was hit by a pitch to open the game, advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored on a Max Murphy fly out. Elliot Ashbeck followed with a ground rule double and scored on Tyler Leffler's 2-out, RBI single.
Leffler entered the game ranked 16th nationally with a .581 on-base percentage and tied for 37th with a .435 batting average and improved both numbers by going 2-for-4 with a walk in his five plate appearances. Smith entered tied for 23rd nationally with a .444 batting average and tied for 24th with eight stolen bases and also improved both numbers by going 3-for-5 and swiping his ninth base.