Players throw a towel at a bat flying in the Bradley Center during Saturday's game (USA Today Sports Images)
The infamous bat that disrupted Saturday's game between Marquette and Providence apparently isn't a fan of hard rock music.
In an effort to drive the bat from the rafters of the Bradley Center before Marquette hosts South Florida on Monday night, arena officials replicated the light and music show that precedes every game, blasting AC/DC's Thunderstruck through the PA system. Sure enough, the simple strategy worked, flushing the bat from the rafters and into one of the building's lobbies.
It was then up to arena officials to coax the bat down from the 6o-foot lobby ceiling and out the building's open doors. A staff member used his jacket as a net and threw it on top of the bat as it flew by, enabling his colleagues to secure the bat, carry it outside and let it go free.
"We think we are now bat-free," Bradley Center president Steve Costello said Monday. "It was entertaining and light-hearted the first time around on Saturday, but as venue operators we're committed to doing our absolute best putting on events. We're delighted it worked itself out and cautiously optimistic Marquette will have an uneventful night tonight."
The freeing of the Bradley Center bat likely ends one of the most bizarre sagas of this year's college basketball season. Not only did the bat send players scrambling for cover and force referees to halt Saturday's game several times, it also made SportsCenter and became a social media star.
If the appearance of the bat got a chuckle out of most people on Saturday, getting it to reappear proved to be a headache for Bradley Center officials. They consulted with pest-control experts and scoured the building several times, but the bat remained hidden from view in the rafters.
"We were actually prepared to try some other things, including putting some glue boards out that are used to capture various pests, but we hadn't gotten to that yet," Costello said. "We did have our local bat team on call in case we couldn't find him in time for the game. We had a qualified bat person who has captured over 500 bats in his career. He was ready with various nets and other devices."
Costello isn't sure how the bat entered the building, though he suspects it flew unnoticed through an unattended loading dock entrance. He's confident there was just one lone bat in the arena, but he'll have his bat team on call Monday night just in case.
Of course, there's always a chance that same bat could return. In a tweet to its nearly 200 followers, @BradleyCntrBat wrote, "I WILL strike again."
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