Former Franklinton player solid this season despite tough start

Published 1:25 pm Friday, May 25, 2018

LSU Eunice redshirt sophomore pitcher Austin Bradford is part of a team that is headed to the NJCAA Division II National Championships, after capturing the Region 23 Tournament with a 10-3 victory over Meridian.
“It’s a great feeling,” Bradford said. “The bond we have, this is probably the closest team I’ve been on. It’s an all-around effort. We have great hitters and that takes pressure off the pitchers.”
The 2015 Franklinton High School graduate has had a solid season despite a tough start.
“Whenever the season started, the plan was for me to be a starter,” he said. “It was a completely new role. I didn’t do that in high school — I closed — but I’ll do what they need me to do. It was just not something I wasn’t used to and I think it got me too amped up.
“I think they discovered it wasn’t the role for me. Other pitchers developed and they put me back in the bullpen. Since then, my velocity has gone up and my control is better.”
Bradford, who is a reliever, is 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA over 24 games, including one start. Bradford has struck out 53 hitters, walked 22 and hit seven over 41-1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting just .204 against Bradford.
Bradford had a rough stretch from the middle to the end of April after he had lowered his ERA to 3.68. That stretch raised his ERA to 4.46.
Bradford has rebounded since that part of the season.
He has gone the last five outings without allowing a run and has seen his ERA go down to 3.92. In that timeframe, he has allowed just two hits and has recorded eight strikeouts and three walks over five innings.
The Division II World Series takes place in Enid, Okla., and begins on Saturday, May 26.
Ten teams reach the World Series.
LSU Eunice is 54-6 this season and is the top seed in the World Series. The Bengals begin play in the World Series on Sunday night at 7:15 p.m. They will play the winner of eighth-seeded Brunswick (29-22) and ninth-seeded Monroe (30-18). Brunswick is in North Carolina while Monroe is in New York.

Austin Bradford