The Digital Journalism Blog

Bradley baseball’s “roller coaster” season

Posted in Uncategorized by com360bu on May 10, 2011

The Bradley baseball team has had its ups and downs this season. After a hot start at the beginning of the year that saw the Braves beat Big Ten opponents, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois Bradley has struggled in Missouri Valley Conference play in the latter part of the season. This blog diagrams the entire season as well as a recent game versus Southern Illinois.

By Alex Ross

A season of ups and downs

PEORIA, IL — It has been a season of ups and downs for the Bradley baseball team.

After starting the season with its best record since 2005, the Braves have struggled in Missouri Valley Conference play.

“(This season) has been a roller coaster ride,” said coach Elvis Dominguez. “We started red hot, but we haven’t played winning baseball down the stretch.”

Bradley began the season 19-11, beating Big Ten opponents Indiana, Purdue and Illinois. But since April 10, the team is just 3-12 and holds a 4-11 record in the MVC.

The Braves currently sit in last place in the conference with just six MVC games remaining on the schedule.

Junior pitcher Joe Bircher said the team had success when they were getting good pitching and defense.

“We got off to a great start by doing the little things right,” Bircher said. “One of our favorite things to say this year is “don’t beat ourselves.” At the beginning of the season we didn’t beat ourselves, but lately we have really struggled.”

Despite the poor record, the season is far from over. Seven games remain before the MVC tournament in Omaha, Neb. The tournament winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament with the chance to compete for a national championship.

“The goal is always to be playing your best ball at the end of the season,” Dominguez said. “We have a few series left to get on track before the post season begins.”

Bradley will try to get back to its winning ways by getting back to the basics. The recipe for any good team is strong pitching and defense.

Through 18 games, the Braves starters were 8-4 with a 2.73 earned run average. Bradley pitchers now hold a 4.86 era.

“If we want to be successful, we need better pitching,” Bircher said. “There’s no way we can be a successful team if we’re giving up 10 runs a game.”

Offensively, the Braves are led by sophomore left-fielder Mike Tauchman. In 42 games, he is hitting a team best .338 with 25 runs scored and 27 runs batted in. Junior right-fielder Brad Kimball is batting .300 and leads Bradley with four homeruns.

As a team, the Braves bat .272 and average over five runs a game, but in the last 15 games they are averaging fewer than four runs. In those 15 contests, Bradley has been held to two or less runs six times.

Dominguez said he has not lost faith in this team.

“There is too much talent and fight in these kids for me or the rest of the coaching staff to give up on them,” he said. “We just have to refocus these next couple of weeks and try to make a run.”

Bircher vowed that the team will not give up on the season until the very last out is made.

“We could be winless on the year and our effort wouldn’t change,” he said. “This team is not going to give up on the season. Champions are built by overcoming adversity. We still plan on being Missouri Valley Conference champions. Nothing will derail us from our ultimate goal.”

Bradley beats SIU 4-0

Watch highlights from Bradley’s 4-0 win over Southern Illinois Sunday afternoon at O’Brien Field.

Bradley baseball’s 2011 season timeline

When you clicked on each box you would be linked to the game summary and box score on

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