SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Junior Mike Tauchman's two-run single in the top of the ninth was the difference as Bradley earned its first State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament victory since 2007 with a 5-3 win against tournament-host Missouri State Tuesday at Hammons Field.
Bradley (27-25-1 overall) had to battle from behind all night after giving up a pair of runs in the first and trailed 3-2 heading to the eighth before rallying late.
After the Braves tied the game 3-3 with a run in the eighth, Andrew Wasmund helped set up Tauchman's late game heroics with a pinch-hit single to lead off the top of the ninth. Bradley (27-25-1 overall) had runners at second and third after a Chris Godinez single and stolen base for Tauchman, who delivered a two-run single to center in front of a diving Spiker Helms.
Bircher got off to a tough start, surrendering a pair of runs in the first and five hits in the first two frames. He settled down in the middle innings, limiting the Bears to just three hits over his five innings of work. Bircher struck out nine and walked none in the no decision.
Bradley found itself in an early hole after Helms doubled off the left field wall and scored on a BU error on a bunt single by Kevin Medrano in the bottom of the first. Medrano made it 2-0 in favor of the Bears, scoring on a two-out single by Keenen Maddox.
The Braves got to MSU starter Nick Petree in the top of the fourth to pull even at 2-2. Jason Leblebijian led off the inning with a double to left. The Braves loaded the bases on singles by Max Murphy and Austin Jarvis before two runs crossed when Jerrod Eigsti reached on a two-out Missouri State error.
A leadoff double by Brent Seifert to open the bottom of the fifth led to a run as Missouri State went back in front 3-2 and the Bears took the one-run advantage into the eighth.
Leblebijian would help ignite Bradley's late game rally with a one-out walk in the top of the eighth and scored from when Jarvis roped a two-out single to right center to tie the game at 3-3.
Bradley will face Southern Illinois Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the second round of the MVC Tournament. SIU topped Wichita State 6-3 earlier in the day Tuesday.