Bradley Baseball Opens 109th Season Friday

Senior outfielder Colby Luttrell is a preseason All-MVC pick-Courtesy: Bradley University

Senior outfielder Colby Luttrell is a preseason All-MVC pick-Courtesy: Bradley University

FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE

Dominguez Era Begins in Tennessee

• The Elvis Dominguez coaching era at Bradley University officially will get under way Friday when the Braves open their 109th baseball season at the Service Academy Spring Classic in the Memphis northern suburb of Millington, Tenn.

• Dominguez became the 15th head coach in Bradley Baseball history in June when he replaced Dewey Kalmer, who resigned following the end of the 2008 campaign after 29 years at the helm.

• Dominguez, 45, who came to Bradley after seven years as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky, begins the season with a 178-199-2 careear record.

About the Braves

• Bradley returns 17 lettermen, including seven position starters and six pitchers, from the 2008 squad that finished 26-28 overall and sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 10-14 league record.

• Bradley’s starting infield returns completely intact and the Braves also return two starting pitchers — senior right-hander Collin Brennan and junior righty Rob Scahill — who were selected in last June’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

• Senior rightfielder Colby Luttrell, a preseason All-MVC selection, led the 2008 Braves with a .363 batting average and 48 runs batted in and is The Valley’s active leader with 21 outfield assists.

• Bradley was picked to finish fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll of the league’s head coaches.

Sweet 16 Deja Vu

• Bradley’s competition at the Service Academy Spring Classic should bring back some fond memories for Bradley fans.

• Bradley will play four games against three teams — Pittsburgh (Friday), Kansas (Saturday and Sunday) and Memphis (Saturday) — the same three schools the Bradley men’s basketball team faced in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

• The 13th-seeded Basketball Braves knocked off No. 4 seed Kansas (77-73) and No. 5 seed Pittsburgh (72-66) to reach the Sweet 16, when they fell to No. 1 seed Memphis (80-64).

Against the Panthers

• Bradley won the only previous meeting against its 2009 season-opening opponent, Pittsburgh.

• The Braves earned a 10-1 victory in the second game of the day March 16, 1986 in Panama City, Fla.

• Senior first baseman Jim Clayton is the only player on Bradley’s roster who was born when the Braves and Panthers first met.

• Bradley has not faced an active member of the Big East Conference since dropping a 5-2 decision to Providence in the second game of the day March 17, 1996 in Las Cruces, N.M.

Against the Jayhawks

• Bradley is 0-2 all-time against Kansas, ironically losing both games at the end of the 2006 season.

• The Braves dropped 15-3 and 11-5 decisions May 12 and May 13, 2006 in Lawrence.

• Four current Braves — Adam Kimble, Colby Luttrell, Mike McMillan and Bryan Porter — appeared in at least one of those two 2006 games.

• Luttrell, a senior outfielder, enjoyed the most success among the quartet as Bradley’s starting leftfielder in those two games: he was 3-for-8 with a double and two runs batted in against the Jayhawks.

Against the Tigers

• Bradley owns a 12-8 lead in the all-time series against Memphis, which was a member of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1968 through 1973.

• The former Valley rivals have not met since the 1975 season-opener, an 8-2 Memphis home win March 22.

• The Tigers have won two straight in the series, also winning the second game of a double-header, 6-0, March 23, 1974 after Bradley took the twinbill opener, 3-2, at Memphis.

Another Volunteer Opening

• Bradley is opening a season in the Volunteer State for the sixth time in nine years, but for the first time in that stretch at a neutral site.

• Bradley opened the 2001 season by taking the first game of a 3-game set at Vanderbilt, but lost the final two games to the Commodores.

• The Braves also opened the 2003 (at Austin Peay), 2004 (at Tennessee-Martin), 2006 (at Tennessee-Martin), 2007 (at Belmont).

• In the five previous season-opening trips to Tennessee, the Braves own a 7-8 record, most recently suffering a double-header sweep at the hands of Belmont March 18, 2007.

• Bradley will return to Tennessee next weekend for a three-game series in Nashville at Lipscomb.