Home-Opening Series vs. Northern Illinois
Games 15-16 • Saturday, March 15 • 6 p.m. • Doubleheader
Normal, Ill. • The Corn Crib
Off to its best start in nine years, Bradley will open its "home" schedule against Northern Illinois in a series that has been altered numerous times due to the harsh winter ... The series now has been reduced to a Saturday night doubleheader, tentatively scheduled to begin at 6 o'clock following Illinois State's noon doubleheader versus Western Illinois, on the artificial surface at The Corn Crib minor league baseball stadium in Normal ... Admission will be free for all four games making up the Illinois State and Bradley doubleheaders Saturday at The Corn Crib.
|Live Coverage||Northern Illinois (1-15-1) at Bradley (11-3)|
|Audio/Video||Not available due to venue change|
|Live Stats||StatBroadcast Game 1 | Game 2 or mobile at BravesMobile.com|
|Game updates @BradleySIDLive|
Series Games 77 and 78
Bradley leads 45-31 overall, 23-11 at home
First-ever series games played in Normal
Streak: Bradley has won 3 straight
Elvis Dominguez vs. NIU: 4-5
Ed Mathey vs. Bradley: 10-9
In the 2000’s: NIU leads 13-12
5-7-1921 at Northern Illinois L 2-3
4-16-2013 at Northern Illinois - 7 W 19-0
4-30-2013 Dozer Park W 11-5
Bradley opens its home schedule Saturday versus Northern Illinois, but the Braves will not be playing on their home field at Dozer Park in downtown Peoria ... The harsh winter has created a deep frostline that is making naturual playing surfaces throughout the upper Midwest unplayable for the foreseeable future ... Bradley has not played a “home” game away from home since May 1, 2010 when the Braves swept a doubleheader versus Calumet at Illinois Valley Central High School due to a schedule conflict with the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park ... Bradley also beat Blackburn, 9-1, at IVC May 1, 2007 and the Braves played 12 games at various alternate sites during the 1992 season as Meinen Field went through a makeover and re-dedication as Pete Vonachen Field ... Bradley is 12-3 in home games played at alternate sites.
About The Corn Crib
The Corn Crib is a 7,000-seat minor league baseball stadium in Normal, Ill. ... The facility is home to both the Normal CornBelters independent minor league baseball team, as well as Heartland Community College baseball, softball and soccer teams ... The stadium features a Sprintturf artificial playing surface.
Location: 1000 W. Raab Road, Normal, IL | Directions
Though the Braves have yet to experience an outdoor practice this winter, Bradley has opened the 2014 campaign with winning records in each of its first four weekends ... Bradley’s current 11-3 record represents the team’s best 14-game start since the 2005 Braves also opened 11-3 en route to a 28-22 final record ... Bradley boasts a 2-games-to-1 series win Feb. 21-23 at UALR, which enters the weekend 9-5 overall with all five losses only to Bradley and nationally-ranked Ole Miss, as well as a 15-5 win Feb. 28 against a Xavier (8-5) squad that allowed a total of just six runs in a 3-game series at North Carolina the previous weekend ... Bradley ranks second among Missouri Valley Conference teams to Indiana State in Won-Loss Percentage, RPI (64th overall) and the Nolan Power Index (9th).
Bradley has fallen behind in 11 of the season’s first 14 games, but the Braves have rallied from behind in eight of their 11 wins ... Through 14 games, Bradley is being outscored 45-44 through five innings ... The Braves have turned the tide after the fifth, however, by outscoring their opponents by a whopping 73-15 advantage from the sixth inning on ... In fact, Bradley’s 67 runs after the fifth prior to Tuesday’s game at Saint Louis were more than 152 of the nation’s 295 Division I teams had scored in total ... As a result, Bradley is 7-3 when trailing (5-3) or tied (2-0) after six innings this season.
Bradley’s bullpen has been the story of the first month of the season ... During the first 14 games, the bullpen is 7-0 with three saves and a 1.95 ERA, having allowed only 42 hits and 19 walks against 59 strikeouts in its 60.0 total innings.
Braves Run Wild
Bradley has swiped 43 bases in 49 attempts during the first 14 games of the season ... The Braves began the week ranked second nationally by averaging 3.15 steals per game ... The 43 steals already is more than Bradley’s 2012 (41)season total and puts the Braves on pace for 156 steals in their 51 scheduled games, which would obliterate tha 1956 school record of 99 stolen bases ... Leadoff man Chris Godinez leads the charge, starting the week first nationally with 12 stolen bases ... Nine different Braves have contributed to the 43 stolen bases, including seven players with multiple steals.
As the week began, Bradley ranked among the nation’s top 40 in 16 different statistical categories tracked by the NCAA and the Braves improved on most of those numbers during Tuesday’s 9-1 win at Saint Louis ... Most notably, Bradley ranked second in stolen bases and stolen bases per game; sixth in runs per game and doubles per game; and seventh in on-base percentage ... Individually, sophomore 2B Chris Godinez began the week tied for first in the nation with 12 stolen bases, while sophomore SS Tyler Leffler was 16th with a .581 on-base percentage and junior OF Isaac Smith was tied for 23rd with a .444 batting average.
Bradley has utilized a quartet of outfielders through the first month of the season and all four have been swinging hot bats ... Junior Isaac Smith has been the primary starter in center field and is batting .463 with a .522 on-base percentage and nine stolen bases ... A starter in seven games, sophomore Brady Wilkin is batting .333 with three doubles, a home run and 11 runs scored ... Junior Max Murphy remains a fixture in the outfield, but has played primarily in right field, and is batting .291 and leads the team with 17 runs scored and 16 RBI’s ... Freshman Evan Gruener is batting .317 with nine RBI’s in his 11 games ... Together, the outfield quartet is batting .347 (61-176) with 43 RBI’s and 44 runs scored in 14 games.
Getting On Base
A trio of Braves all have reached base safely in each of the season’s first 14 games, including freshman 3B Spencer Gaa ... Sophomore SS Tyler Leffler also reached safely in his final seven games of the 2013 season, giving him a current streak of 21 consecutive games reaching base safely ... Junior OF Max Murphy, an on-base machine throughout his Bradley career, did not reach safely in the 2013 finale, but he has reached base safely in 101 of his 117 career games.
Balls and Strikes
Bradley has returned 13 of its 16 pitchers from the 2013 season, yet the staff has experienced a complete turnaround through the first month of the 2014 campaign ... As the week began, Bradley began the week ranked among the nation’s top 40 in Strikeouts-to-Walk ratio (26th, 3.09), Walks per 9 Innings (36th, 2.67) and Strikeouts per 9 Innings (39th, 8.2) ... Following Tuesday’s 9-1 win against Saint Louis, Bradley’s pitching staff now is 11-3 with a 3.61 ERA, boasting a .239 opponent batting average, 36 walks and 112 strikeouts ... The 2013 staff finished 17-32 with a 6.37 ERA, .296 opponent batting average, 246 walks and 329 strikeouts.
Chasing The Top 10
Senior DH Greg Partyka is Bradley’s active leader in most every significant offensive category, but is closing in on Bradley’s top 10 for career runs batted in ... Partyka enters the Northern Illinois doubleheader with 101 RBI’s, leaving him 15 shy of the 10th-place tie between Matt Rader (1993-96) and Eric Kuhlman (1985-88), each with 126 ... Currently eighth on Bradley’s career RBI’s list, Ryan Curry is the only player to crack the top 10 in this milineum (2001-present).
National Player of the Week
Junior outfielder Max Murphy collected a pair of national player-of-the-week honors March 3-4, following his performance during the Austin Peay Riverview Inn Classic ... Murphy hit .500 (6-12) with six runs scored and six RBI’s in the event’s three games ... Most notably, he tied the Bradley single-game records for home runs and total bases (12) by slugging three homers in the 11-5 win against Dayton March 1 ... In addition to being selected the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, Murphy was named a national Player-of-the-Week by Collegiate Baseball/Louisville Slugger and the NCAA.