PEORIA, Ill. - Baseball has a way of evening things out. A day after Indiana State (27-9, 7-4 MVC) rallied for an 11-inning win in the opening game of a weekend Missouri Valley Conference series at Bradley, the Braves (18-13-1, 4-4 MVC) returned the favor with a 5-4 win in 11 innings Saturday at O'Brien Field.
Junior left fielder Mike Tauchman went 4-for-6 Saturday, capped by a seeing-eye single up the middle with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th. It was Tauchman's second late-inning game-winner in seven days, following his eighth-inning RBI single in Sunday's 4-3 win against Missouri State.
The teams will play the rubber game in their weekend series with a 1 p.m. game Sunday at O'Brien Field. Bradley will start junior righthander Patrick Flanagan (1-0, 3.88 ERA) against Indiana State junior righty Ryan Torgerson (5-1, 2.64 ERA).
The Braves got a strong start from senior right-hander Justin Ziegler, who allowed only one run on seven hits in 6.2 innings, the longest outing of his college career. But for the second day in a row, the eighth inning haunted the Braves, who let a 3-1 lead slip away when Robby Ort launched a 2-run home run to right off Bradley reliever Steve Adkins.
Indiana State took the lead in the ninth against Bradley closer Danny Gifford. Ort again delivered, this time with an RBI single up the middle after a Kyle Burnam base hit and Jeremy Lucas was hit by a pitch for the second time. Lucas would get hit again to open the 11th inning, setting an O'Brien Field collegiate record for the most plunking in a game.
After Jon Hedges walked to load the bases with one out, however, Gifford escaped further damage by getting back-to-back strikeouts.
The Braves extended the game when third baseman Rob Elliott hit a bases loaded sacrifice fly with one out in the home half of the ninth.
Bradley's game-winning rally started with one out in the 11th when Schuch lined his third base hit of the game into center field. After Jerrod Eigsti struck out, Indiana State brought in its fourth reliever of the game, Kurt Kudrecki, who appeared to end the inning when he got Chris Godinez to hit a ground ball to third. Ryan Walterhouse booted the ball, however, and Elliott followed with an infield single to load the bases in front of Tauchman.
NOTES: Bradley entered the weekend series with a 15-0 record when leading after seven innings this season, but has blown a 7th-inning lead in each of the first two games ... Bradley is 2-1 in extra innings this year, while Indiana State fell to 4-2 ... Bradley has won seven of its last nine games ... Bradley outhit Indiana State, 12-11, and improved to 14-2-1 when outhitting the opposition this year ... Freshman centerfielder Max Murphy finished 1-for-5 Saturday and has been on base in all 32 games to start his career ... Catcher Derek Sprout saw his 5-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-3 day, but he drew a leadoff walk in the ninth to start Bradley's tying rally.