3/11: Butler at Mercer – 6 PM
3/12: Butler at Mercer – 3 PM
INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler baseball team will take a midweek trip to Macon, Ga. to face the Mercer Bears on Tuesday and Wednesday. This two-game series comes during the Butler spring break schedule. First pitch for game one of the series is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11.
Scouting Mercer (12-5)
The Bears are 12-5 early in the season with a perfect 9-0 record at home. The team won their first nine games of the season with sweeps over High Point, Florida A&M, Evansville and Savannah State. Their first loss of the year came at Belmont where the Braves took two of three. A second series against Florida A&M would take Mercer to 12 wins, but a three-game series at Auburn recently moved the loss column to five as the Tigers swept the Bears.
Sasha Lagarde, Nick Backlund and Michael Massi are three high profile players on the Mercer roster. All three student-athletes have started in every game this season, and all of them are hitting over .300 from the plate.
Lagarde is seeing the ball especially well as he leads the team with six home runs and 20 RBIs. Backlund is currently leading the team in doubles with four and Massi is a speedster that leads all Mercer players with two triples.
Grant Papelian is scheduled to make the start on the mound for Mercer in game one, while game two is still up for grabs. Papelian is 1-1 on the year with a 4.87 ERA. He has four starts under his belt, tossing 20.1 innings thus far.
Bullpen options for the Bears belong to Morgan Pittman, Stephen Glaze, and Ben Lumsden. Lumsden leads the team with five saves, while Pittman is close behind with three. Glaze has just one save on the year, but he has cleaned up for Mercer by recording a team-high four wins in 10 appearances.
The Bulldogs swept a three-game series vs IPFW last week to move their overall record to 5-7 overall. After defeating Marian on Thursday afternoon in the home opener, the Bulldogs stayed hot to beat the Mastodons three-straight days at Bishop Chatard H.S.
Chris Marras and Will Amador posted the highest batting averages on the team last week with Marras hitting .667 (4-6) and Amador going 5-for-9 from the plate to hit .556. Amador had a double and a home run to lead the team with five weekend RBIs.
Kyle Allen, Eric Stout, Will Schierholz, and Gunner Johnson all recorded a win for Butler as the team prepares for a two-game series vs. Mercer. Allen recorded seven strikeouts in five innings which led to his win while Johnson punched out five in his four inning outing.
Butler returned from a lengthy road trip to post four wins at home last weekend. The team is currently 4-0 at home, 1-3 on a neutral field and 0-4 as visitors.
Strike 3…You're Gone
Eric Stout leads the team in strikeouts with 18. He is followed closely in the category by teammates Kyle Kramp and Kyle Allen. Kramp has 17 and Allen is close behind with 16.
Close the Door
Billy Laing recorded his first two saves of the season against IPFW. The senior has thrown 15 innings in his seven appearances to strike out 11 batters. The opposition is hitting .254 against him late in games.
Spread the Wealth
Butler has six home runs on the season by six different players. Will Amador, Marcos Calderon, Quincy Quintero, Ryan Wojciechowski, Pat Guinane and Austin Miller all have round-trippers this season.
Butler will host Western Michigan in a three-game series this weekend, beginning on Friday, March 14.