CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Freshman center fielder Max Murphy broke the game open with a 2-run double in the seventh inning, then made consecutive running catches into each gap to end the eighth inning, leading Bradley (14-11-1) to a 6-3 win at Illinois (15-11) Tuesday evening at Illini Field.
The Braves reversed the score of last week's 6-3 loss to Illinois at O'Brien Field to earn their third consecutive win. Bradley also snapped the Illini's 5-game winning streak, which started with last week's game in Peoria.
Senior left-hander Tory Doerr (1-2) earned his first win of the season by allowing one run on three hits in his 5.0 innings to start the game. Doerr faced the minimum 12 hitters through the first four innings and took his no-hitter into the fifth inning, before Jordan Parr laced a 1-out double into left center. Davis Hendrickson ended the shutout hopes in the next at-bat, plating Parr with a single to right field.
Bradley immediately regained the 2-run advantage when catcher Austin Jarvis hit his first home run of the season in the top of the sixth for a 3-1 lead.
The Braves tacked on three more in the seventh inning, a rally that started with a Chris Godinez leadoff single to left. Bradley loaded the bases with one out when Mike Tauchman reached on an error and Greg Partyka was intentionally walked following a Leblebijian sacrifice bunt. Murphy took advantage with his double into right field, pushing the lead to 6-1.
Bradley relievers Steve Adkins (sixth), Rob Kennedy (seventh) and Jacob Booden (eighth) each tossed a scoreless innings, but closer Danny Gifford had to work through a troublesome ninth to finish off the win. Bill Charvat and Reid Roper both hit RBI doubles before Gifford got Thomas Lindauer to line out to left to end the game.
Booden also had some trouble in the eighth, but escaped the inning unscathed, thanks to his outfield teammates. Pinch-hitter Thomas Shelton drew a leadoff walk, but was thrown out at third by Schuch after Roper singled into right field. After Lindauer followed with a walk, Murphy raced down Willie Argo's line drive into the left center field gap, then tracked down Justin Parr's fly ball to the wall in right center to end the inning.
Bradley will return to action this weekend by hosting Missouri Valley Conference preseason favorite Missouri State in a 3-game set at O'Brien Field. The series will begin with a 6 p.m. game Friday and will continue with a 2 p.m. game Saturday and a 1 p.m. game Sunday. Saturday's game will be Bradley Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day and Sunday's holiday game will feature $1 admission, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt and an appearance by the Easter Bunny.
NOTES: By going 2-for-5, freshman center fielder Max Murphy has reached base safely in each of the first 26 games of his career, 20 with base hits and six via walks ... Bradley outhit Illinois, 11-8, and the Braves have recorded double-digit hit totals in four consecutive games, batting .340 in the brief stretch ... Bradley improved to 12-2-1 on the season when it outhits its opponent and 10-0-1 when it scores more than five runs.