May 20, 2008
Niles, Ohio - Kyle Schultz sparked the Butler offense early with a three-run home run and Joe Pauley added his league-leading 13th of the season, but the run support would fall just short as Valparaiso held on for a 6-5 decision in the opening round of the Horizon League Championship on Tuesday (May 20) at Eastwood Field.
Butler was the first to strike in the game following two scoreless frames. Rick Betsch and Colin Ziegel began the third with back-to-back singles before the Crusaders forced Betsch at third on a grounder by Pauley.
Schultz would cash in on the very next pitch, roping a deep drive over the fence in right for his second homer of the season and a 3-0 Butler advantage.
The lead would be brief, however, as Valpo responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning coming on an RBI double and two-run single.
Butler was back at it in the sixth, as Michael Letzter drew a one-out walk and beat out a force attempt at second on a grounder by Ryan Neat to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt by Kevin Rotherham moved the pair into scoring position with one out before Betsch dropped down a safety squeeze bunt to bring Letzter in with the go-ahead run.
The Crusaders would once again have an answer, tying the contest on a single through the right side before going ahead 6-4 in the seventh on an RBI single and a sac fly.
Butler attempted to stage a two-out rally in the ninth, as Pauley roped an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right and Schultz followed with a walk to bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate, but Valparaiso would end the game and the Bulldogs' stay in the league championship on a strikeout.