INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler baseball team got out to an early 5-0 lead and got some clutch pitching in the late innings to hold off Cincinnati 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon. Senior Nick Hladek hit a two-run triple to spark a four-run bottom of the 3rd for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Steve Farley employed nine different Bulldog pitchers on the day, with seven guys not giving up any runs. Freshman Kyle Allen (3-0) started and was credited with a win, while junior Chase Byerly earned his league-leading sixth save.
Ahead 1-0, the Bulldogs got four runs in the 3rd to take a big lead. Risi and senior Mike Hoscheit and Calderon each singled. With two outs, junior Lucas Calderon stroked an RBI single up the middle to drive in Hoscheit and make Butler's lead 3-0. Moments later, Hladek clubbed a hit to deep left-center and raced all the way into third base.
Cincinnati (8-10) scored twice in the top of the 4th to pull within 5-2. Butler got those two runs back in the bottom half when Risi pulled an RBI double down the line to right. Risi scored on a single by Marcos Calderon.
Butler's bullpen was effective, and the Bulldogs led 7-2 late in the game. A two-run homer to left by Kiley Jones and an RBI single by Taylor Schmidt made things interesting as the Bearcats pulled to within 7-5 in the 8th inning. Suddenly, UC had the tying run on second base. Byerly entered the game and got the next two outs, killing Cincinnati's rally.
Byerly then finished the game in the 9th to clinch the Butler win. The Bulldogs improved to 11-10, their best record after 21 games in 10 years. The 2002 Butler Bulldogs started 13-8 and won a school-record 34 games.
Matt Williams went 3-for-5 to lead Cincinnati. The Bearcats managed 15 hits to Butler's 14. Bryan Chenoweth started and was pinned with the loss. He allowed six earned runs on nine hits over 3.2 innings.
Butler, which is 2-1 in league play, will host defending conference champion Wright State this weekend. WSU comes to Bulldog Park for a three-game series March 23-25.