EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Sophomore third baseman Rob Elliott (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley H.S) delivered a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth to tie the score at 6-6, and junior outfielder Brian Martin (Glen Ellyn, Ill./College of DuPage/Lombard Montini Catholic H.S.) followed with an RBI double as Bradley (12-21, 5-8 MVC) edged Evansville (21-17, 3-4 MVC) 7-6 in Missouri Valley Conference action Friday night at Braun Stadium.
Evansville's Greg Wallace belted a solo homerun in the bottom of the first to put the Purple Aces on top 1-0, but Bradley answered with two runs on three hits in the second to take a 2-1 edge. After a one-out single by freshman outfielder Mike Tauchman (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd H.S.), senior first baseman Mike McMillan (Bloomington, Ill./Normal University H.S.) ripped a triple to right field to tie the score at 1-1. Freshman outfielder Bob Schuch (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice H.S.) followed with an RBI groundout to give the Braves a one-run lead.
Senior second baseman Matt Fritz (Northbrook, Ill./DePauw University/Glenbrook North H.S.) broke a 2-2 tie in the fifth with a one-out RBI single and Elliott followed with a two-run blast down the left field line to put the Braves ahead 5-2. The homerun was Elliott's first of the season.
Evansville regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh with four runs on five hits, including a two-run homer by Ryan Oesterle, to make the score 6-5. The Purple Aces had a chance for an extra run in the inning after a single by Cody Fick, but Tauchman threw out Wallace trying to score from second to keep it a one-run game.
In the top of the ninth, Schuch drew a leadoff walk and was lifted for freshman pinch runner Christian Segar (Mendon, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit H.S.). A sacrifice bunt by freshman shortstop Jason Leblebijian (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) moved Segar into scoring position, but Evansville reliever Tom Heithoff got Fritz to fly out to left for the second out of the inning. After working a full count, Elliott ripped a single up the middle that scored Segar to tie the score at 6-6.
Not only did Elliott tie the game, but he also took second when Wallace threw home trying to catch Segar at the plate. Martin gave the Braves the lead for good with a perfectly placed double down the right field line and junior right-hander Patrick Cooper (Danville, Ky./Des Moines Area C.C./Boyle County H.S.) pitched a perfect bottom half to preserve the victory, 7-6.
Elliott finished 2-for-3 with three RBI's, while Cooper (2-3) earned his second win of the season with 3.0 inning of scoreless relief work.
Bradley and Evansville will continue their three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m.