TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Cameron Roegner did not allow a run in the longest outing of his career and Bradley rode a pair of first-inning runs to a 3-1 victory against Illinois State in the final game of their Missouri Valley Conference opening series Saturday afternoon at Indiana State's Bob Warn Field.
Bradley (14-5, 1-2 MVC) snapped its first losing streak of the season, halted Illinois State's 6-game winning streak and put an end to a 7-game losing streak to the rival Redbirds (15-6, 2-1 MVC). Roegner, who had never thrown more than 76 pitches nor more than 5.0 innings, improved to 4-0 by scattering four hits and striking out four in 6.2 scoreless innings Saturday. Freshman RHP Matt Dennis earned his third save of the season in his first career Valley appearance by getting the final seven outs.
After allowing Illinois State to score a run in the first inning of both Friday games, Bradley did the first-inning scoring Saturday. Isaac Smith was hit by a pitch on the game's second offering from ISU starter Jeremy Rhoades (1-2), took second on a Spencer Gaa ground out and scored on Max Murphy's line drive single to center field. Greg Partyka followed with a single, the Murphy scored the second run when Redbirds third baseman Paul DeJong dropped an Elliot Ashbeck pop-up.
Murphy (3-for-4) and Partyka (3-for-3 with a walk) combined for six of Bradley's eight hits.
Rhoades settled in after the first inning, working a career-best 8.0 innings and striking out a career-high 11. He did not allow another run until the eighth, when the Braves added some 2-out insurance. Murphy beat out an infield single, Partyka walked and shortstop Tyler Leffler followed with an RBI double down the right field line.
The Redbirds pulled one run back in the bottom of the eighth against Dennis, but the freshman righty prevented Illinois State from putting together a big inning after ISU put runners at second and third with one out. Brian Rodemoyer drove home Illinois State's only run with a ground out and Dennis fanned Joe Kelch to end the inning.
The Redbirds again brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth after a leadoff single and a 2-out walk, but Dennis got ISU RBI leader Daniel Dwyer to pop out to end the game.
Bradley is scheduled to return to action Wednesday at Iowa, then will make another attempt at opening its home schedule Friday when the Braves welcome first-year MVC affiliate member Dallas Baptist to Dozer Park for a 3-game weekend series.