Indianapolis, Ind. - Jamie Feldheiser tossed an impressive six shut-out innings, Tyler Szymczak worked an admirable three frames of relief and the host Bulldogs used some timely hitting to work their way to a 5-2 triumph over Valparaiso in the second game of a double-header on Saturday (March 21) afternoon at Bulldog Park. A late inning rally by Butler in the opener would fall short, however, as the Crusaders notched a 10-5 decision.
Taking the hill in his first start of the 2009 campaign, Feldheiser handcuffed the Valparaiso bats, limiting the visitors to just three harmless two-out singles while striking out five and walking one over six scoreless innings.
The Butler bats, meanwhile, gave him the run support he needed to pick up his first win of the year.
The Bulldogs got on the board first in the second inning. Michael Letzter led off with a single and Grant Fillipitch reached after being hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no one down. Both runners moved up a base after Alex Montagano dropped down a textbook sacrifice bunt before Rick Betsch hit a grounder to second that allowed Letzter to cross the plate with the first run of the game.
Fillipitch stepped to the plate with one down in the sixth and delivered his first home run of the season to put the Bulldogs in front, 4-0. Montagano followed with another deep drive to the gap in right center and motored his way to third for a one-out triple before Bobby Mosser pushed him across on an RBI single to left to give Butler a 5-0 advantage.
Valparaiso would get two back in the top of the eighth, getting three-straight singles before scoring on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, but Szymczak would limit the damage to just a pair of runs by striking out the final batter of the inning.
Kaffel finished with two of the Bulldogs' eight hits in the game, while six other players helped the cause with hits of their own.
Szymczak earned his first save, allowing just the three hits in the eighth while striking out three in three innings.
A late-inning rally by the Bulldogs in the opener would fall short, as the visiting Crusaders held on for a 10-5 decision.
Valparaiso took a 4-0 lead through the first five innings before Mosser broke up the shut-out with an RBI double to center that plated Letzter in the bottom of the fifth.
The Crusaders put a three-spot on the board in the seventh, before Letzter answered with a two-run shot - his second of the year - in the bottom of the inning to cut the difference to 7-3. Valpo earned two back in the eighth, but the Bulldogs would again answer with a run in their half on an RBI double by Kaffel.
After Valpo plated one more run in the top of the ninth to give it a 10-4 advantage, the Bulldogs put a scare into the Crusaders in the bottom of the inning. Letzter roped a one-out RBI single up the middle that plated Griffin Richeson from second before the Bulldogs loaded the bases to put the tying run on deck with just one down.
Valparaiso reliever Steve Godawa would quell the Butler bats, however, striking out the final two Bulldogs to preserve the win.
Steve Darragh, Letzter and Mosser each posted a pair of hits, while Letzter tallied three RBI and two runs scored.
Butler returns to action on Wednesday (March 25) when it welcomes non-league foe IPFW to town for a 3:00 p.m. contest at Bulldog Park.