Baseball Closes Regular Slate This Week
The First Pitch: The regular season comes to a close this week when the Bulldogs play four games in a four-day span. Butler wraps up the home schedule on Tuesday (May 12) when it takes on Eastern Illinois beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park. The Bulldogs then head to Milwaukee when they open up a three-game set against the Panthers. The two teams face off in a doubleheader on Thursday (May 14) afternoon at Miller Park - home of the Milwaukee Brewers - beginning at 5:00 p.m. ET (4:00 p.m. CT) before concluding the series on Friday (May 15) afternoon at 3:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. CT) at Henry Aaron Field.
Make That A Triple-Header: The Bulldogs' double-dip with the Panthers at Miller Park will actually be the second and third games of the day at the ballpark. The Brewers will play host to the Florida Marlins prior to the doubleheader beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET (12:05 p.m. CT).
You Again?: The Bulldogs will face the Panthers for the second time in a series in less than a week. Butler and Milwaukee split a twin-bill on Saturday (May 9).
Butler Holds Off Bearcats: Butler jumped for three runs in the fifth inning against host Cincinnati en route to a 5-3 victory in the opening contest of a doubleheader on Wednesday (May 6) evening at Marge Schott Stadium. After the Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead early on, Cincinnati responded with two runs of its own to tie the contest up. Butler was undaunted, however, scoring three times in the fifth before holding on for a big win in seven innings over the Big East foe.
...Before Rallying To Top Panthers: A two-out, RBI single to the gap in left center by Kyle Schultz capped a spirited ninth-inning rally, as Butler overcame a 6-5 deficit to score a 7-6 decision in the finale of a doubleheader against Milwaukee on Saturday (May 9) afternoon at Bulldog Park. After Milwaukee surged for three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 6-5 lead, the Bulldogs had to play comeback in the final frame to come away with the win. Bobby Mosser came off the bench to lead off the ninth and promptly lined the first pitch he saw into the gap in right center for a pinch-hit double. After Tim Matheson came in to run for Mosser, Luke Duncan dropped down a sacrifice bunt to put a runner on third for Rick Betsch, who fed his first pitch through the right side to knot the game up at 6-6. Betsch stole second and Grant Fillipitch drew an intentional walk to put runners on first and second with one down, but the Panthers cut down the lead runner on an ensuing fielder's choice to put themselves one out away from extra innings. Schultz made sure the game ended there, however, driving a 1-0 pitch to left center that scored Fillipitch with the winning run.
Coach Farley's Thoughts: "I thought we took a positive step forward on Saturday with two well-played games against Milwaukee. Winning a close game on a walk-off hit is the dream of any college player, and Kyle Schultz got the big hit for us in game two. We gained momentum on Saturday, but took a step backward on Sunday at Valpo. We have been getting quality starting pitching from Jeff Sinkiewicz, Jared Wagoner, Mike Hernandez and Matt Sokolowski for the past several weeks and Ryan Kruszka has done a solid job in a relief role. We just aren't getting any consistent innings from our other relief pitchers, and that needs to change this week. We've had leads late in the game on multiple occasions and found a way to lose. It isn't just the pitching staff; we need to make some plays on defense in key situations as well. It's a team game; we win together and we lose together. We are in the midst of a challenging stretch of playing 10 games in 10 days. There isn't much of a chance to take a break or catch our breath, so we just have to keep plugging away and show up every day ready to play."
Crush-A-Pitch Fillipitch: Sophomore shortstop Grant Fillipitch put together an impressive performance at the plate last week. The LaGrange Park, Ill., native batted a team-high .409 and slugged a whopping .773 thanks to nine hits - including a homer and five doubles - en route to scoring seven runs and driving in six.
...And He's Been Doing It All Year: Grant Fillipitch has been the Bulldogs' top source of power in the lineup this season, boasting a team-best six home runs, 16 doubles, 85 total bases and .494 slugging percentage. He also paces the squad with 51 hits and 30 runs scored, while his 25 RBI are second-most.
A Century Of Butler Baseball: The 2009 campaign marks the 100th season of baseball at Butler University, dating back to 1901. In 99-plus seasons, the Bulldogs have tallied a 1,155-1,365-11 (.458) all-time record, eight league championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
Walk This Way: Butler hitters have been the most patient in the Horizon League this season, as the Bulldogs are tied for the league lead with 175 walks drawn in 47 games.
...But Not Allowing Them Free Passes: While the Butler hitters have been a model of patience at the plate in the conference, the Bulldog pitching staff has made sure that opponents have not been given the same charity. Butler ranks third in the conference with the fewest walks allowed, yielding just 153 free passes during the season.
Control Freaks: Butler starters Matt Sokolowski, Jeff Sinkiewicz and Mike Hernandez have been a big reason why the Bulldogs have allowed among the fewest walks in the league. Sokolowski ranks in a fifth-place tie in the conference with just 12 allowed in 48.1 innings, Sinkiewicz is sixth with 13 walks in 47 frames and Hernandez is tied for ninth with 15 in a team-high 61 innings of work.
Record-Setting Hitting: Rookie Blaine DeCamp put together a record-setting performance at the plate against IPFW on April 8. The Columbus, Ind., native became just the 12th player in Butler history to pick up five hits in a game, going 5-for-7 with four runs scored and a pair of RBI.
Big-Time Non-Conference: Butler had to battle through a highly-competitive non-league schedule this season, with opponents from the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East, Mountain West, Atlantic-10 and Missouri Valley featured during the year.
Bulldog Park Renovations: Bulldog Park, home of the Butler baseball team, has undergone some major improvements this year. Last fall, the field received a new pitcher's mound and home plate area, new laser-graded infield dirt and new sod around the first and third base, home plate and the mound. The crown jewel of the renovation project, to be completed this spring, will be a 6,000 square foot multi-purpose hitting facility that will feature four turfed indoor batting cages and pitching mounds, pitching machines, drill stations and a bathroom. The facility is already nearing completion, as the finishing touches are being put on the interior.
On Deck: The Horizon League Championship kicks off next week, with the tournament running Tuesday through Sunday (May 19-24) at The Pipe Yard in Lorain, Ohio. The Bulldogs will enter the tournament as the No. 7 seed and will begin play on Tuesday (May 19) needing a win to advance to the double-elimination portion.