Christl Goes the Distance as Bradley Beats SIU, 6-1
Release: Wednesday 04/20/2007 
by Bradley University

PEORIA, Ill.Bradley senior right-hander Michael Christl scattered seven hits and struck out a season-high seven in his first career 9-inning complete game, leading the Braves (19-15, 3-7 MVC) to their first Missouri Valley Conference series-opening win, a 6-1 decision against visiting Southern Illinois (23-14, 4-6) Friday night at O’Brien Field.


After needing 54 pitches to get through the first three innings, Christl suddenly found his control and breezed through the Salukis lineup through the final six innings, improving to 2-5 on the season and finishing with 119 total pitches.  His turning point appeared to come in the third after Aaron Roberts led off the inning with a sharp single up the middle.  SIU first baseman Adam Hills followed with a line drive that appeared to be headed for the right field wall, but Colby Luttrell was able to battle the setting sun to making a leaping grab.  Luttrell doubled off Roberts at first and Christl responded to the defensive help by retiring seven straight and 10 of the next 11.


After Southern Illinois scored its lone run in the first on a RBI single by Valley hitting co-leader Mark Kelly, the Braves gave Christl all of the run support he would need with a three-run outburst in the second.  Justin Carr started the inning with a walk and pitcher Jordan Powell overran Ryan Eigsti’s sacrifice bunt to put runners at first and second with no outs.  Luttrell followed with a run-scoring double into the left field corner, and after Mike McMillan flew out, designated hitter Jason Acevedo looped a base hit into left field.  Dean Cademartori tried to make a diving catch, but the ball dipped under his glove and rolled to the warning track for a 2-run double, Acevedo’s first career extra-base hit.


Bradley tacked on a second unearned run in the third inning when Paul Rice reached on a throwing error by Salukis shortstop Michael Finigan, advanced to second on Ryan Curry’s ground out and scored on a Justin Carr single. 


Trailing 4-1, Southern Illinois threatened to get back into the game in the seventh when Chris Crank led off with a single and Scott Elmendorf followed with a bunt single to put runners at first and second with no outs.  Finigan followed with a sacrifice bunt, but Christl struck out Tyler Lairson for the second out and got center fielder Kevin Koski to ground out to end the threat.


The Braves completed the scoring with two more runs in the seventh, beginning with a RBI single from Rice.  After Rice was picked off Curry finally chased Powell with a bad-hop single over Finigan’s head.  Relief pitcher Daniel Wells got Carr to hit a high fly ball into shallow center field, but Koski never saw the ball, allowing Curry to score from first on Carr’s 150-foot double.


Bradley outhit Southern Illinois 10-7 and played errorless defense behind Christl.  After his second-inning fly out, McMillan singled in each of his last three at bats for his fourth 3-hit game of the year.  Bradley entered the game leading The Valley with 72 doubles and added three more to its total against the Salukis.


The teams will meet again Saturday at 6 p.m. at O’Brien Field and will conclude the three-game set with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday.  Bradley sophomore right-hander Collin Brennan (1-4, 4.97 ERA) is expected to face Salukis ace Cody Adams (8-2, 2.58 ERA) Saturday night.


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