PEORIA, Ill. – Freshman right fielder Brady Wilkin delivered a go-ahead 2-out, 2-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete Bradley’s rally from an 4-0 deficit, leading the Braves (10-13, 1-2 MVC) to an 8-5 win against Evansville (11-16, 3-3 MVC) Sunday afternoon at Peoria Chiefs Stadium.
Senior left fielder Mike Tauchman was 2-for-5 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 17 games and sophomore center fielder Max Murphy crushed a tying home run earlier in the eighth inning, but the freshman class deserves much of the credit for Bradley’s first Valley win of the season.
Freshman righthander Eric Scheuermann stemmed the early Evansville momentum by limiting the Purple Aces to one run in his 3.0 innings of relief, while freshman lefthander Brent Stong (4-1) earned the win by pitching the final two scoreless innings, his sixth consecutive scoreless appearance that now has spanned 14.1 innings.
Freshman second baseman Nolan Sponsler, who entered the game in the third inning for injured starter Chris Godinez, contributed an RBI double in the seventh inning that pulled the Braves to within 5-4. Freshman shortstop Tyler Leffler was hit by a pitch and redshirt freshman Paul Solka followed with a pinch-hit, 2-out single to load the bases in front of Wilkin in the eighth.
The Braves, who pounded out 15 hits Sunday, will wrap up their season-opening home stand by hosting nearby Eureka College in a 6 p.m. game Tuesday at Peoria Chiefs Stadium.