Baseball falls in mid-week doubleheader

By Brian Earle

Baseball came away empty-handed as it lost both games of a doubleheader to Bradley in Peoria Wednesday.

The Huskies (9-26-1) were shutout by the Braves (20-13) 3-0 in game one and came up short in game two, falling 7-5.

In game one, the bottom of the second inning was the Huskies’ undoing. After pitcher Ryan Olson walked three batters to load the bases, Braves third baseman Spencer Gaa cleared the bases with one swing of the bat on a double over center fielder Jason Gasser’s head.

“Obviously, it’s all in that inning,” said coach Ed Mathey. “When you walk three guys, it’s inevitable that they will come back to bite you. Their nine-hitter drove the ball pretty well to dead center field and scored all three runs. With our lack of hitting that’s all they really needed.”

The Huskies were unable to get anything going at the plate as they recorded just two hits, both of them doubles, coming from outfielder Micah McCulloch and infielder Justin Fletcher.

Bradley starting pitcher Steve Adkins dominated the Huskies at the plate in his five innings of work, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking out eight batters. Pitcher Matt Dennis picked up where Adkins left off as he closed out the game, pitching the final two innings to pick up his sixth save of the season.

“[Adkins] was pretty effective tonight with his breaking ball,” Mathey said. “He had two varieties going; he had more of a slider type that he threw a little bit harder on the outer half of the plate, and then he had the curve ball that he typically started over the inside corner and let it break through the plate. I think the difference in those two pitches — speed-wise and the way that they were breaking — was tough on our guys.”

In game two, the Braves wasted no time getting on the board as they scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

With the bases loaded, infielder Tyler Leffler drove in infielder Chris Godinez from third base when he reached on a fielder’s choice. The next batter, catcher Drew Carlile, singled to right field and drove in outfielder Max Murphy from third base to take a 2-0 lead.

The Huskies responded immediately as they rallied with two outs to score two runs of their own in the top half of the second inning to tie the game, 2-2.

Infielder Tommy Hook came to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered a single to center field, which drove in outfielder Alex Smith from third base and catcher Johnny Zubek from second base.

The Braves scored runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings while capitalizing on miscues made by the Huskies.

First baseman Greg Partyka got the bottom of the third inning started with a leadoff walk. Partyka advanced to second base after Leffler laid down a sacrifice bunt and then found himself at third after a wild pitch by Jordan Ruckman. Two batters later, Ruckman threw another wild pitch, which allowed Partyka to score from third, giving the Braves a 3-2 lead.

In the fourth inning, Murphy reached second base on a double down the left field line and Leffler reached first base after being hit by a pitch. They both moved up a base on a wild pitch by TJ Schrader. With runners on second and third, Carlile drove them in on a single up the middle to put the Braves up 5-2.

After the Huskies pushed one run across in the top of the fifth, the Braves came back in the bottom of the sixth with two runs of their own, as Murphy hit a two-run homer over the left field wall.

The Huskies scored two more runs in the top of the seventh inning but it wasn’t enough as the Braves hung on for the win.