Bulldogs Hold Off Vikings To Nab Series Finale, 9-8
Lorain, Ohio - The Bulldogs rallied from a two-run deficit late for five runs in the seventh before holding on for a 9-8 victory in the series finale against Cleveland State on Saturday (April 18) afternoon at The Pipe Yard. The Vikings picked up a 5-4 walk-off decision in the opener.
Butler salvaged a victory in the night-cap thanks to a five-run, five-hit rally in the seventh that turned a 6-4 shortcoming into a 9-6 advantage.
Michael Letzter got things started with a lead-off double down the left field line before Jason Jamerson traded places with an RBI double to center that cut the deficit to one. A throwing error by the CSU second baseman allowed Brian Padove to reach base and Jamerson to motor to third before Luke Duncan plated the tying run on an RBI single to center.
The Bulldogs took the lead two batters later, as a walk to Rich Betsch loaded the bases for Grant Fillipitch, who picked up an RBI on a fielder's choice force out at second.
Butler added to its lead with Steve Darragh batting, as the Viking catcher mishandled a pitch trying to catch Fillipitch stealing second and allowed Duncan to sprint home and Fillipitch to advance to third on the passed ball. Alex Montagano followed with an RBI single to center that gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the afternoon at 9-6.
CSU cut into the lead in the eighth, as Jon Foco belted a lead-off home run to close the Vikings to within in two. Cleveland State made things more interesting in their half of the ninth, scoring another run on a two-out RBI single before putting the potential tying run on second, but Ryan Kruszka struck out the final batter to pick up the save.
Jamie Feldheiser picked up his second win of the season, with the solo homer by Foco his only blemish in an otherwise perfect 2.2 innings of relief.
Cleveland State took a 2-0 lead in the contest in the first inning, scoring on an RBI single before getting a two-out run-scoring triple.
Butler manufactured a run in the third to cut the lead in half, as Letzter worked a lead-off walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jamerson and came around on a single through the right side by Padove.
CSU earned the run back in the fifth on a passed ball, but the Bulldogs responded with three in the top of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead. Back-to-back singles by Padove and Duncan followed by a walk by Betsch loaded the bases with no outs. The Vikings came close to escaping unscathed, inducing an infield pop-up for the first out before getting a potential double-play grounder to short, but the CSU second baseman's relay throw to first sailed wide and allowed two runs to score to tie the game up at 3-3.
Colin Ziegel then delivered an RBI single to right that put the Bulldogs on top, 4-3.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Vikings plated three runs of their own in their half of the inning thanks largely to a bevy of errors by the Bulldogs.
Duncan went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while Montagano picked up three hits of his own. Letzter and Padove, meanwhile, each scored twice.
In the opener, Butler took a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out solo home run by Fillipitch - his second of the series and team-leading fourth of the year.
The Vikings picked up an unearned run in the fourth to tie the game, but the Bulldogs retook the lead in the fifth thanks to some small ball. Griffin Richeson drew a lead-off walk, took second on a sac bunt by Duncan and third on a groundout to the right side by Betsch before scoring on a single to right by Fillipitch.
CSU picked up two runs in their half of the inning and added another in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead, but the Bulldogs would rally again in the eighth, loading the bases with two down for Letzter, who roped a two-run single to center that tied the contest up at 4-4.
The game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the ninth, when Foco drew a one-out walk before Tyler Wynn sent double to center that brought the winning run around to score.
Montagano finished the contest with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, while both Fillipitch and Letzter added two hits apiece.
Butler returns to action on Wednesday (April 22) when it heads to West Lafayette, Ind., for a 4:00 p.m. contest at Purdue.