Bradley Splits Baseball Twinbill at NIU
Release: Wednesday 03/25/2008 
by Bradley University
Dan Brewer's 3-run home run gave Bradley a 4-3 lead in the opener
Dan Brewer's 3-run home run...
Courtesy: Bradley University

DeKALB, Ill. -- After rallying for a 5-4 victory in the first game of a Tuesday doubleheader at Northern Illinois, Bradley (9-10) could not take advantage of a 5-run first inning in the nightcap to earn the sweep.  Instead, the Huskies (8-11) answered with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first and rode the momentum to an 11-6 win to split the non-conference twinbill at Ralph McKinzie Field.


After playing their first 19 games away from home, Bradley will open the 2008 home slate this weekend by hosting Missouri Valley Conference rival Indiana State in a three-game set at O’Brien Field.  The series against the Sycamores is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.  Coming off a 2-games-to-1 series win this past weekend at Evansville, Bradley has won five of its last six league sets.


Game 1 Recap • Bradley 5, Northern Illinois 4

Dan Brewer hit a 3-run home run in the fifth inning to give Bradley a brief 4-3 lead and designated hitter Adam Kimble drove home the winning run in the top of the sixth, leading the Braves to a 5-4 win in Tuesday’s opening-game at Northern Illinois.


Senior right-hander Chris Wright (1-3) picked up his first win of the season by scrapping through 5.0 innings.  Although he allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits, Wright also struck out a career-best eight hitters to help him work out of trouble.  After Kimble’s go-ahead hit in the sixth, three Bradley relieves combined to keep the Huskies off the board in the last two innings to preserve the win.  Senior Eitan Barbalat got the final four outs to earn his first save of the year.  Huskies starter Brandon Copp (1-3) took the loss, despite giving his first complete-game effort of the year.


Northern Illinois struck first with a run in the bottom of the first.  Bobby Stevens led off with a single to center field, then after Wright got his first two strikeouts, Stevens stole second and scored on Danny Reed’s single.


Bradley managed to tie the game in the top of the second without the benefit of a hit.  Colby Luttrell led off the frame with a ground ball to second, but ended up at second base following Tim Kamin’s throwing error.  Following a consecutive strikeouts by Mike Brumleve and Rob Elliott, Luttrell scored when Stevens threw wildly on Kimble’s ground ball to short.


Wright struck out two more hitters in both the second and third innings before running into trouble in the fourth.  After getting his seventh strikeout to start the fourth, Justin Behm singled and scored when Kamin followed with his first triple of the season.  Kamin put Northern Illinois ahead, 3-1, when he scored on a throwing error by Elliott at third base.


The Braves again bounced right back and took their first lead, 4-3, when Brewer delivered a two-out, 3-run homer.  Brewer was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week Monday, an honor that was aided by his game-winning 3-run homer in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 9-6 victory at Evansville.


This time, Northern Illinois responded in the bottom of the fifth, pulling into a 4-4 tie on a leadoff homerun from Stevens.  The Huskies had a chance to reclaim the lead after Reed followed Jordin Hood’s one-out double with a base hit to put runners at the corners with one out, but Dave Reynolds grounded into an inning-ending double play.


Luttrell started Bradley’s sixth-inning rally by hitting a one-out single to center field.  He was forced out at second on Mike Brumleve’s ground ball, but the Bradley left fielder beat out the potential inning-ending double play, then raced around to third on Elliott’s two-out single to center.  Kimble followed with a base hit to left to put the Braves up, 5-4, but he was thrown out trying to sneak into second base to end the inning.


Jon Goebel relieved Wright to start the home half of the sixth, but gave way to first baseman Grant Escue after giving up a one-out double to Kamin.  Pinch-runner Marvin Sanchez immediately stole third, but he was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Brian Smith’s ground ball to second.  Barbalat relieved Escue and got Pat Minogue to ground out to end the inning, then worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to secure the save.


Game 2 Recap • at Northern Illinois 11, Bradley 6

Bradley’s first six hitters reached safely against Northern Illinois starter Tom Zelasko en route to a 5-0 lead.  Brewer drew a walk to open the game and Elliott followed with an infield single.  The Braves then executed a double steal in front of four consecutive hits.  Colby Luttrell hit a 2-run triple, followed by consecutive RBI doubles from Nick Mitidiero and Adam Kimble and a run-scoring single from Mike Brumleve to chase Zelasko.


Huskies reliever Dan Atkenson (1-0) retired the next three hitters in order to end the outburst, then limited the Braves to just one run on five hits with eight strikeouts the rest of the way.


The Huskies used a pair of home runs – a 3-run blast by Danny Reed and a 2-run shot by Joe Buonavolanto to pull even in the bottom of the first against Bradley starter Tyler Thornton (0-2).  Jeff Thomas pushed NIU ahead, 6-5, in the second with an RBI single.


After Bradley first baseman Jim Clayton’s solo homer in the third created a 6-6 tie, Buonavolanto answered with his second homer of the game in the bottom of the third to give the Huskies the lead for good, 7-6.  NIU’s fourth homer of the game, a 2-run shot by Dave Reynolds, capped a 3-run fourth inning to give the home squad some breathing room.


Brewer reached safely in all four of his plate appearances in the nightcap, going 2-for-2 with a double, two walks and a pair of stolen bases to complete the nightcap with a four hits and three walks in eight plate appearances.


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