Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler jumped for six runs in the fifth inning before plating an additional four runs in the eighth en route to a 12-6 come-from-behind victory over visiting Cleveland State in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday (April 25) afternoon at Bulldog Park. The Vikings held on for a win in the opener, scoring a 10-5 decision.
The Bulldogs batted around in both the fifth and eighth innings to score 10 of their 12 runs late for a split in the twin bill with CSU.
Trailing 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Butler jumped for six runs on six hits and a Viking error to take an 8-5 advantage. Three straight singles by Rick Betsch, Luke Duncan and Grant Fillipitch loaded the bases with no one out before a grounder by Alex Montagano hit out of the CSU third baseman's glove for a fielding error that allowed Betsch to scamper home with the first run of the inning while leaving the bases loaded.
CSU worked a strikeout for the first out of the frame, but Kyle Schultz delivered with a hard-hit grounder through the right side that plated Duncan and Fillipitch with the tying runs. An ensuing two-run double by Blaine DeCamp scored Montagano and Schultz, before Michael Letzter roped a two-out double to left that plated DeCamp to give the Bulldogs an 8-5 lead.
The Vikings trimmed the margin with a run in the seventh, but Butler would put the game out of reach in the eighth with a four-spot on four hits.
After Griffin Richeson led off with a walk, Letzter dropped a nifty bunt single down the first base line while an errant throw on the play by the CSU pitcher allowed the Butler base runners to move to second and third. Betsch cashed in on the miscue, lining a two-run single through the right side before moving to second on the throw home.
Another bunt single - this time by Duncan - put runners on first and third for Fillipitch, who drove a deep fly to the gap in left center for a two-run double and a 12-6 Butler lead.
CSU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the game with a three-run first inning. Butler would get two of the runs back in the next two innings, as DeCamp hit an RBI double in the second and Duncan plated another on a sacrifice fly in the third.
The Vikings tacked on single runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 5-2 lead before the Bulldogs surged back.
Matt Sokolowski picked up his first win of the season, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out six and walking none in six innings. Tyler Szymczak scattered three hits in two innings of relief, while Ryan Kruszka tossed a one-hit ninth.
Betsch, Duncan and Letzter each finished with three hits and two runs scored on the afternoon. DeCamp added two hits and three RBI, while Fillipitch and Schultz both batted in a pair.
Late offense by the Vikings proved to be too much for Butler to overcome, as CSU claimed a 10-5 decision in the opener.
A solo home run by Taylor Wynn gave Cleveland State a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but the Bulldogs responded with two in the bottom of the frame. Walks by Ziegel and DeCamp wrapped around a bunt single by Schultz loaded the bases with no one out for Richeson, who sent a roller through the left side to move each runner up a base and tie the game up at 1-1.
What followed was likely the strangest play of the 2009 Butler season thus far.
Letzter stepped into the box and hit a hard shot back to the CSU pitcher Josh Hungerman, who snared the one-hopper with his glove before realizing that the ball had embedded itself in the webbing. After a moment of confusion, the Viking southpaw quickly tore off his glove and chucked it - with the ball still intact - to the CSU catcher who earned the force out at the plate.
Once the laughter had settled, however, the Bulldogs went right back to work, as Betsch hit an RBI fielder's choice to second that brought DeCamp in with the go-ahead mark.
Cleveland State would tie the game up in the fifth on an RBI single and regained the lead in the sixth on another RBI hit before plating three runs in the seventh on five hits to take a 6-2 lead.
Butler bounced back in its half of the inning, as Letzter roped an RBI double to right before Betsch plated two on a single back up the middle to cut the deficit to one at 6-5.
The Vikings put the game away in the eighth, however, scoring four times on a pair of two-run home runs.
Four Butler hitters finished with two hits apiece, including Schultz, DeCamp, Richeson and Letzter. Betsch, meanwhile, picked up three RBI.
Jeff Sinkiewicz started and worked a strong six innings before running into trouble in the seventh. Szymczak held CSU to one hit in a scoreless ninth.
The Bulldogs return to action on Sunday (April 26) when they take on Youngstown State in a doubleheader beginning at 12:00 noon.