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Braves take road weekend series win over Tennessee Tech  – The Bradley Scout


Connor O’Brien swings at a pitch. Photo courtesy of Bradley Athletics

The bats lead the way yet again for the Bradley baseball team, as it won its second series of the season against a formidable opponent in Tennessee Tech last weekend.  

Bradley started the weekend off with an 8-2 victory on Friday evening. The Braves were held scoreless until they took the lead in the sixth inning on a grand slam by junior Connor Manthey, who added his career-high fifth RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh inning. The Braves never looked back after that, out-hitting the Golden Eagles 11-7 to secure the win. 

Freshman pitcher Jacob Kisting gave Bradley seven strong innings of work, allowing one run on four hits with nine strikeouts. Sophomore Taylor Catton relieved Kisting and allowed one run on three hits in two innings.

Sophomore center fielder Ryan Vogel led the way for the Braves in the Friday win, with a 2-4 night at the plate. Senior left fielder Carl Valk was the only other Brave to have two hits on the evening with a 2-5 batting performance. 

Head coach Elvis Dominguez praised Kisting, who has settled into the ace role right away and leads the team with four wins and 33 innings pitched. 

“The tone for the weekend was set by our freshman Jacob Kisting,” Dominguez said. “He went out and pitched extremely well, dominated and gave us a chance to get the offense rolling.”

The bats stayed hot in the second game when Bradley jumped ahead 3-1 in the fourth inning.  The Braves extended their lead to 7-1 in the top of the eighth after RBI singles from senior catcher Keaton Rice and junior first baseman Connor O’Brien.

The bottom of the eighth spelled disaster for the visitors, as Tennessee Tech put on a hit parade. The Golden Eagles used six RBI singles and three bases-loaded walks en route to an 11-run inning to take a five-run lead. Braves freshman infielder Cal McGinnis knocked a double in the ninth for his fourth RBI of the day, but Tennessee Tech stymied the comeback attempt, winning 12-8.

Despite the loss, McGinnis played an important role in the beginning of his college career. So far, the second baseman has started 16 of Bradley’s 19 games and shown a mature eye, walking more than he has struck out.

“I try not to worry about batting average, but it is a good thing to have right now,” McGinnis said. “It is still early in the season, so I am just trying to keep it up and stay consistent throughout the year.”

After the tough loss on Saturday, the Braves responded well on Sunday with an 8-7 victory to take the series over the Golden Eagles, for their first series win since the season-opening set against Western Michigan.

The senior standout O’Brien had a day at the plate in the series-clinching win, going 5-6 with 4 RBIs. His current hitting streak now stands at14 games, while simultaneously boasting an MVC-leading .434 batting average.

“We have been so close to winning multiple series this season,” Dominguez said. “With our pitching dilemma, I can’t fault them. We have been really good with the seven guys that we do have healthy and we have done a great job with the guys we have. To no fault of their own, they are giving us the best opportunity we can to win. With this offense, I would like to see what we can do with a full stable.”

Bradey’s scheduled home opener on Wednesday against Western Illinois was postponed to May 3 due to rain. The Braves are set to begin their conference slate today with a trip to Southern Illinois, beginning with a 6 p.m. first pitch in Carbondale.

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