PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley senior infielder Rob Elliott was 1-for-3 and swiped two bases to move into fourth place on the school's career stolen base list, but there was little else for the Braves (20-19) to celebrate Tuesday night at O'Brien Field. Northern Illinois (20-18) scored four runs in both the first and fifth innings on the way to a 14-1 victory to complete a 2-game season sweep of the Braves.
Huskies left-hander Jake Hermsen (1-2) went the distance for his first win of the season. Hermsen allowed only three hits and no walks while striking out nine in 7.0 innings. With Bradley facing a rare, second midweek game Wednesday at Illinois, the game was shortened to seven innings after the Huskies extended their lead to more than 10 runs.
Sidelined all season due to an October knee injury, sophomore right-hander Rob Kennedy (0-1) made his 2011 debut as Bradley's starting pitcher, but he ran into immediate trouble by hitting the leadoff hitter, Jamison Wells, on a full-count pitch. Kennedy went on to surrender four runs in the first, the last two on a towering home run by first baseman Jeff Zimmerman.
Bradley got its only run in the fourth inning when Elliott led off with a single to left. He became the fifth player in school history to steal 50 career bases when he swiped second and he moved into sole possession of fourth place by also stealing third. Designated hitter Brad Kimball brought Elliott home with a line drive sacrifice fly to deep centerfield.
The Braves will try to shake of a 1-7 home stand when they start a 4-game road swing Wednesday night at Illinois. Bradley will visit Creighton for a 3-game Missouri Valley Conference series Friday (6:30 p.m.), Saturday (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at the new TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, which will serve as the site for the 2011 State Farm MVC Tournament and the permanent home of the College World Series.