JONESBORO, Ark. – The first three spots in the Bradley order combined to go 8-for-15 with a double, a home run, three runs scored and four runs batted in, but the Braves (0-1) could not take advantage in a 10-5 loss at Arkansas State (1-0) in the season-opener for both teams Friday night at Tomlinson Stadium.
Senior left fielder Mike Tauchman and sophomore centerfielder Max Murphy picked up where their all-star summers left off. Tauchman was 3-for-5 with a double, while Murphy was 2-for-5 with a 2-run home run in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie.
Freshman pitcher Brent Stong (0-1) could not make the lead stand up, however. After inducing a double play to get out of a sixth-inning jam without a run, Stong could not carry over the momentum into the seventh. Following a leadoff single and sacrifice bunt, Stong sandwiched a run-scoring wild pitch and an RBI double in between two walks, allowing the Red Wolves to pull even, 5-5.
Senior righthander Rob Kennedy took over with runners at first and second with one out and immediately gave up a go-ahead, 2-run double to Arkansas State left fielder Logan Uxa. Kennedy allowed three more runs in the eighth on the strength of two walks and two doubles.
Junior righthander Steve Adkins turned in a strong outing in his first career start for the Braves. Adkins allowed three runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. After John Koch struck out 11 in his 5.0 innings to start the game for Arkansas State, reliever Bradley Wallace earned the win, despite allowing two runs on three hits in his 3.0 innings. Wallace struck out seven and three Red Wolves pitchers fanned 19 Bradley hitters.
The teams will resume their 3-game weekend series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday at Tomlinson Stadium. Redshirt junior righthander John Nasshan is expected to take the mound for Bradley.
NOTES: Bradley sophomore second baseman Chris Godinez, who was a 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American with Murphy, led off the game with an infield single, but exited the game for a pinch-runner after stealing second ... Replacement Curtis Bunch, was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.