March 23, 2009
The First Pitch: Butler welcomes in-state foe IPFW to Indianapolis on Wednesday (March 25) as it takes on the Mastodons beginning at 3:00 p.m. at Bulldog Park. The Bulldogs then travel to Dayton, Ohio, for a three-game series at Horizon League rival Wright State over the weekend. The two teams open the set at Nischwitz Stadium with a single game on Friday (March 27) at 6:30 p.m. before concluding the trip with a double-header on Saturday (March 28) beginning at 1:30 p.m.
A Century Of Butler Baseball: The 2009 campaign will mark the 100th season of baseball at Butler University, a program which dates back to 1901. In 99-plus seasons, the Bulldogs have tallied a 1,146-1,345-11 (.460) all-time record, eight conference championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances.
Schedule Changes: Butler will have a few changes to its upcoming schedule. Wabash will come to town on April 7 for a 3:00 p.m. game at Bulldog Park. Butler's game at the University of Indianapolis on April 28 has been cancelled due to UIndy's conflicts with final exams. The Bulldogs' single nine-inning contest at Cincinnati on May 6, meanwhile, has been changed to a double-header with two seven-inning games set to begin at 4:00 p.m.
Bulldogs Top Valpo For First League Win: 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. 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. Szymczak, meanwhile, notched the team's first save of the year while the bats provided the run support he needed to pick up his first win of the year.
Coach Farley's Thoughts: "I was very pleased with our effort on Saturday. We've taken a pounding from some pretty good teams these last couple of weeks and for our guys to bounce back from some adversity and play with great hustle and intensity in the final game of the Valpo series showed me a lot. Obviously, Jamie Feldheiser stepped up big-time with an outstanding pitching performance. Now we need some other guys on the staff to do the same thing. We played some position players this week who hadn't been getting much playing time, and they responded in a very positive way. Steve Darragh, Alex Montagano and Stephen Kaffel did a good job swinging the bat. Hits are starting to fall for some of our other guys as well. We need to carry the positive momentum into games this week and keep playing with all-out hustle and enthusiasm."
Veteran Authority: Butler head coach Steve Farley, who enters his 18th season at the helm this year, has overseen some of the most successful years in Bulldog baseball history. Under his guidance, Butler claimed three regular season conference titles, two league tournament championships and a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. Currently the most veteran coach in the Horizon League, his 18th season this year will make him the second-longest tenured mentor in program history, trailing only Butler legend Tony Hinkle's 41 seasons. Farley's 429 wins in that time, meanwhile, are the most in school history.
Professional Touch: The Bulldogs will get a small taste of professional baseball this season. Butler will host Dayton at Victory Field - home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians - on March 31 and will take on Horizon League opponent Milwaukee in a double-header at Miller Park - home of the Milwaukee Brewers - on May 14.
Bulldog Park Renovations: Bulldog Park, home of the Butler baseball team, will be undergoing some major improvements this year. Last fall, the field received a new pitcher's mound and home plate area, new laser-graded infield dirt and new sod around the first and third base, home plate and the mound. The crown jewel of the renovation project, to be completed this spring, will be a 6,000 square foot multi-purpose hitting facility that will feature four turfed indoor batting cages and pitching mounds, pitching machines, drill stations and a bathroom. The facility is already taking shape, as the framework is already in place and the concrete floor has been poured.
On Deck: Butler battles Dayton at Victory Field on Tuesday, March 31, beginning at 3:00 p.m. before heading to Youngstown State over the weekend for a three-game set from April 3-4.