JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University baseball fell 12-8 to Bradley on Sunday at John Sessions Stadium in a game in which JU was forced to go to the bullpen earlier than expected due to injury.
"We got off to a rough start," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "It is tough on Sunday to get short-started, but overall we just didn't pitch well enough, we didn't play clean defense and we could have done a little bit better job offensively."
Bradley (9-2) got the scoring going early on Jacksonville (10-6) starter Mike Cassala (2-1), plating three in the second on a solo home run and an RBI single from Keaton Rice after two men reached on a hit and an error.
The Dolphins answered right back, rallying with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, after Jacob Southern walked to lead off the inning and scored on Franco Guardascione's wall scraping double. Duncan Hunter drove him in on a single up the middle, his first career RBI, and Cory Garrastazu finished it up with an RBI single to right to give JU a 3-2 lead.
Bradley came up in the third and put the first two men on with base hits, before a second home run of the day cleared the bases and put the Braves up for good. That also chased Cassala, who left due to discomfort. He was replaced by Trent Palmer, who pitched marvelously in relief, logging a career-high five innings and seven strikeouts.
"Palmer was phenomenal, he gave us a chance in this game today," said Hayes.
The score remained 5-3 in favor of Bradley until the seventh, when Scott Dubrule singled up to middle to score Garrastazu, but that is the closest JU would get. Five more came in to score for Bradley in the eighth against three different pitchers.
Jacksonville is 3-1 in weekend series this season, including a perfect 3-0 at John Sessions Stadum.
"Overall, I am happy with this weekend," said Hayes.
Jacksonville stays home to host Richmond on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. The game is airing on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.