INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler baseball team picked up a pair of key league wins Friday afternoon, sweeping a doubleheader at home against Youngstown State. BU won a 2-1 pitcher's duel in the first game and followed that with an exciting 8-6 win in the nightcap.
Youngstown State grabbed an early lead in both games, but the Bulldogs were able to rally behind timely hitting and solid relief pitching to win both contests. The victories moved Butler past YSU in the Horizon League standings, into fifth place.
Friday's first match-up with the Penguins was a duel between Butler ace Dom Silvestri and YSU No. 1 Phil Klein. Youngstown State got on the board in the top of the 2nd, as Joe Iacobucci hit a blooper and then scored on a single later in the inning. Silvestri (6-3) put zeroes on the board for the rest of the day, cruising to a seven-inning complete game effort in 80 pitches. He scattered six hits and struck out two. He didn't walk a batter or have a wild pitch.
Junior Griffin Richeson tied the game when he singled and scored in the bottom of the 4th. Richeson's run was the only tally given up by the 6-foot-7 Klein, who struck out nine over 6.0 innings of work. Butler scored the winning run in the bottom of the 7th when sophomore Pat Gelwicks doubled deep to right-center and scored on the game-winning RBI single by senior Luke Duncan. With the winning run in Gelwicks on third base, Duncan smacked a groundball past YSU shortstop Dan Hurlimann. The Bulldogs ran out of the dugout to celebrate the walk-off win and greet Duncan's heroics.
Junior Mike Hoscheit, who is 7-for-13 over the last four games, went 3-for-3 in the first game with an RBI single and a double to lead Butler. Youngstown State managed just the six hits, including a 2-for-3 effort by Craig Goubeaux.
The day's second game wasn't as crisp, featuring six errors and 22 base hits. Once again, YSU drew first blood, scoring three runs in the top of the 3rd inning. The inning featured an error, three walks and a wild pitch for Butler.
The Bulldogs would storm back by scoring in the game's last four innings. BU plated three in the bottom of the 5th, as Duncan led the frame off with a triple. Hoscheit, Gelwicks and sophomore Andrew Eckhardt each singled and Richeson walked and scored as Butler tied the game 3-3.
With Butler trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the 6th, Duncan singled and scored on a Penguin throwing error to make it 5-4. Butler's relief pitchers were largely responsible for getting the Bulldogs back into the game. Junior Brad Schnitzer and sophomore Kyle Kramp combined to allow just one earned run on one hit over 5.1 innings in the middle of the game. Schnitzer threw four no-hit frames but yielded two unearned runs.
The Bulldogs would take the lead with two runs in the bottom of the 7th. The rally started with two outs, again with Duncan getting on base. The senior shortstop walked then went first-to-third on a single up the middle by Eckhardt. The speedy Eckhardt then stole second and YSU's catcher threw the ball wildly into the outfield, allowing Duncan to score and Eckhardt to advance to third base. Moments later, Eckhardt crossed home on a wild pitch to give BU an 8-6 lead.
Junior Brian Padove, who entered in the top of the 8th, shut the Penguins down in order in the 9th. He got credit for the win, his first of the season.
Eckhardt went 5-for-6 - all singles - with two runs in the second game, which saw Butler pound out 17 hits to Youngstown State's five. Duncan was 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Freshman Patrick Guinane went 2-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs.
Butler will play its final two home games of the season Sunday, May 15 against Milwaukee. For every fan in attendance, $1 will be donated to St. Mary's Child Center for abused children. It is also Senior Day, as the Bulldog baseball program will honor its eight seniors.