PEORIA, Ill.- After battling back from a three-run deficit, Wichita State (24-6, 5-1) suffers its first conference loss of the season, falling 6-5, to Bradley (12-10, 1-2) in the bottom of the ninth.
The Braves took their first lead of the series on a three-run homerun off of Shocker starter Rob Musgrave in the first inning. Brad Jones opened the game with a single pushed through the left side. Ryan Curry drew a two-out walk and Ryan Eigsti followed with his first homer of the season, a shot over center field.
Wichita State got one back in the top of the third when Tyler Hill, hit by a pitch, scored on a standup triple to the center field wall by Derek Schermerhorn.
Musgrave sat down the next five batters in order before giving up a solo homerun to left field by Dan Brewer, making it 4-1 through three innings.
The Shockers came within one in a two-run fourth, but the Braves added another in the bottom half. With one out, an infield single by Danny Jackson preceded Conor Gillaspie’s double to the right field corner, placing two runners in scoring position. Tyler Weber poked a single over the shortstop to plate two, but the offense came to a halt with back-to-back strikeouts.
A lead-off single by Bradley’s Eigsti advanced on a Shocker error and crossed on a sacrifice fly by Colby Lutrell to make it 5-3.
Schermerhorn reached on an error by the BU shortstop, stole second and again cut the lead to one by scoring on a single from Matt Brown in the fifth.
Andy Dirks led off the seventh with a double off the right field wall. Schermerhorn walked on four-straight balls and the runners advanced on a ground ball by Damon Sublett. Brown came through with another RBI, a ground out to first that allowed Dirks to cross home and even the score at five.
The Shockers went down in order in the eighth, had a hit in the ninth, but again were plagued with multiple strikeouts stranding the runner.
Jones started the ninth just the way he had to begin the game with a single through the left side. Paul Rice laid down his second sacrifice bunt of the game and Brewer was intentionally walked to keep the double-play alive. I didn’t matter, however, as Curry doubled to left field, driving in the winning run and avoiding a series sweep.
Eigsti ended at 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI. Jones followed with a 2-for-4 performance and two runs.
Schermerhorn and Brown each went 2-for-4 with Schermerhorn adding a run and Brown contributing two RBI.
Musgrave gave up four earned runs in three innings on four hits, one walk, and two strikeouts. Kyle Touchatt went three innings, gave up one hit and struck out two. Noah Booth (2-1) was tagged with the loss, throwing 1.2 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits. Sublett faced three batters to finish the ninth.
Bradley’s Chris Wright went six innings allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. Brad Altbach closed the final three, giving up one hit and strikingou three.