PEORIA -- The Bradley baseball team evened the series with a 7-2 win over Southern Illinois University on Friday at Dozer Park. The Braves jumped up 2-0 after the first inning and never trailed in the game.
"We didn't play well in any phase of the game," SIU head coach Ken Henderson said. "We didn't play well enough to win. Our defense was probably the worst it has been in a long time. We were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. We did not have good ABs in those situations. We just had a bad day."
Connor Kopach led off the first inning with a double but was stranded. In the bottom half, Bradley (20-29, 6-14 MVC) hit a two-out, two-run double and never looked back. The Salukis had traffic throughout the game but stranded 11 on base in the game.
SIU starter Jamison Steege kept SIU in striking distance for the first half of the game. After Bradley's quick two runs, Steege settled down and put up four-straight scoreless innings. He got into trouble in the sixth. After a leadoff homer, Bradley loaded the bases with one out. A two-run double pushed the Bradley lead to 5-0 and chased Steege. Both inherited runners came in to score, one of them on one of Southern's four errors in the game.
The Salukis loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth inning. Will Farmer and Logan Blackfan drew bases loaded walks to bring in Southern's two runs. Ultimately, SIU couldn't get the big hit to truly get back into the game.
Greg Lambert hit a ninth-inning double to tie with Chris Serritella (2012) for the most doubles in a season by a Saluki, with 24
The loss eliminated any chance of SIU becoming the 3-seed in next week's MVC Tournament. With an SIU win on Saturday or an Evansville loss in one of the next two games against Dallas Baptist, the Salukis will play in the 4-5 seed game at the MVC Tournament.
SIU and Bradley will play the rubber game on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT.