CARBONDALE, Ill. - Junior left fielder Andrew Wasmund hit a 3-run home run and a trio of Bradley relievers blanked Southern Illinois over the final five innings, leading the Braves (11-9-1, 1-2 MVC) to an 8-4 win in the final game of their weekend Missouri Valley Conference series at Abe Martin Field.
Bradley turned the tables on the host Salukis, who hit three home runs in each of the first two games of the series for a pair of come-from-behind wins. In Sunday's finale, Bradley hit two home runs and overcame an early 2-0 deficit to snap its season-long, 4-game losing streak.
Junior right hander Patrick Flanagan (1-0) relieved starter John Nasshan after the Salukis used a 2-run home run to pull within 7-4 in the bottom of the fourth. Flanagan earned his first career win as the first of three Bradley relievers to toss 2.0 scoreless innings.
Flanagan worked the fourth and fifth innings, senior Jacob Booden the sixth and seventh and closer Danny Gifford the eighth and ninth for his fourth save of the season. Each of the three relievers allowed one hit. Booden struck out four of the eight SIU hitters he faced and maintained his 0.00 season earned run average, while Gifford's four saves already are tied for the fifth-best single-season total in program history.
After SIU scored once in each of the first two innings, Bradley took a lasting lead with three runs in the top of the third. Curtiss Bunch led off the third with a walk and Wasmund followed with a double. Second baseman Chris Godinez beat out an infield single that plated Bunch from third with Bradley's first run of the game. After Jason Leblebijian walked to load the bases with no outs, Austin Jarvis hit an RBI ground out and Greg Partyka followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Braves ahead, 3-2.
Bradley broke the game open with four more runs in the fourth off Salukis starter Nathan Dorris (4-2). Bob Schuch led off the fourth with a single and Bunch reached on a 1-out error, setting the stage for Wasmund's first career home run. Godinez, who was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, kept the pressure on with a base hit to center. After he stole second, Leblebijian brought him home with a base hit up the middle for a 7-4 lead.
Leblebijian completed the scoring with a leadoff home run to open the ninth inning.
Bradley will continue a long stretch of games against in-state rivals Wednesday when it hosts Illinois in a 6 p.m. game at O'Brien Field. Tickets for Bradley Baseball home games are $6 for adults, $3 for youth and free for Bradley University students, faculty and staff.
NOTES: Freshman Chris Godinez started at second base and led off each of the three weekend games in place of the injured Rob Elliott, who leads the Braves with a .365 average and 22 runs scored ... Godinez had two hits in each of the three games and was 6-for-13 with two walks, four stolen bases and four runs scored in the three games ... In addition to Elliott, the Braves also played without 2011 leading hitter Mike Tauchman for the 11th time in 12 games ... Both players are nursing hamstring injuries ... Right fielder Bob Schuch was one of four Braves with multiple hits Sunday, finishing 3-for-5 ... Freshman center fielder Max Murphy was 0-for-3 Sunday, but drew two walks and has reached base safely in each of Bradley's first 21 games this season.