May 5, 2008

Butler Heads To Louisville On Wednesday

May 5, 2008

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The First Pitch: Butler ends a seven-day break from action on Wednesday (May 7) when it heads south to Louisville for a 6:00 p.m. ET contest against the Cardinals. The Bulldogs then turn north for a double-header at Milwaukee on Saturday (May 10) beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET before returning to Indianapolis on Sunday (May 11) for a twin-bill with Valparaiso starting at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Butler Gets Past Indianapolis: Southpaw Bryan Bokowy worked a strong seven innings and infielder Kyle Schultz picked up a game-high four hits as the Bulldogs hung on for a 7-6 victory at cross-town foe Indianapolis on Tuesday (April 29) afternoon at Greyhound Park. Butler staked itself to a 5-2 lead through the first six frames before holding off a late Greyhound charge to secure its 10th victory of the season. Bokowy earned his first win of the year, scattering seven hits and a walk while striking out four in seven innings of work. Evan DePotter notched his first save of the season after holding the Greyhounds hitless in 1.1 frames. Schultz led the way at the plate for the Bulldogs, going 4-for-5 with and RBI, while Letzter, Neat and Rotherham each picked up a pair of base knocks.

Pauley Has A Day: There may not have been a more impressive display of hitting in a Butler baseball game than the one that senior Joe Pauley put on in the first contest of a doubleheader on April 26. In his first four at bats of the game, the Bulldog shortstop went 4-for-4 with three home runs - including a pair of three-run bombs - before finishing the contest with seven RBI and a whopping 13 total bases. His home run and total base figures are tied for the Butler record with Gordon Hansen, who posted identical totals against Southeast Missouri State in 1983.

...And Ziegel Had A Week: Joe Pauley may have stole the spotlight with his staggering offensive performance at Valparaiso, but junior outfielder Colin Ziegel's numbers for the previous week might have been even more impressive. Ziegel batted .500 (9-for-18) with four doubles, three home runs and six RBI in games against Dayton and at Valparaiso. He chalked up 22 total bases for a incredible 1.222 slugging percentage and boasted a .591 on base percentage.

Slugging Their Way Up: Thanks in large part to the power output of Joe Pauley and Colin Ziegel, the Bulldogs have belted 11 home runs in their last six games. The offensive surge did wonders for the team's season numbers. Butler, which entered its weekday double-header against Dayton ranked at the bottom of the Horizon League standings with 16 home runs, currently finds itself in a third-place tie with 27 bombs on the year.

We're Going Streaking!: Junior left-hander Joe Ochs has arguably been the Bulldogs most effective pitcher this season. The southpaw boasts a 2.12 ERA in 29.2 innings of work, the lowest of any Butler pitcher with more than an inning pitched. Additionally, since allowing seven runs in a tough outing at No. 17 Kentucky on Feb. 29, Ochs has not allowed an earned run in 25.2 consecutive innings, including a stretch of 21.2 innings without yielding any runs, earned or unearned. During the streak, Ochs has given up just 19 hits and walked five while striking out 15.

...And Streaking Again: Junior Colin Ziegel and sophomore Kyle Schultz both amassed season-long 10-game hitting streaks during the year, with Ziegel having his snapped in the second game at Youngstown State on April 19 and Schultz's ending a day later in the final game at Cleveland State. The duo has picked up right where it left off, however, as Schultz boasts the longest current trek at six games, while Ziegel has hit in five straight.

One Run Away: The Bulldogs have battled Horizon League opponents in a lot of close games this season, but, unfortunately, they have come out on the short end in most of them. Butler is 2-6 in one-run games during league play, with both victories coming in 5-4 wins against Youngstown State on March 21 and on April 19. In fact, four of the Bulldogs' last seven losses in league play have been by just a one-run margin.

League Of Their Own: Butler has found much more success at the plate in Horizon League play than it did during the non-conference slate. In 19 non-league games, the Bulldogs have posted a .235 batting average, while Butler touts an impressive .307 mark in 19 conference contests.

Rookie Sensation: Freshman Grant Fillipitch has gotten off to a fast start to his collegiate career. The first-year third baseman currently ranks third on the team with a .287 batting average and is fourth with 18 RBI. Fillipitch has also already etched his name in the Butler record book thanks to an impressive five-hit performance against Indiana Tech on April 8, which tied the single-game mark and made him just the 12th player in school history to collect five hits in a game.

Not Your Average Joe: Senior shortstop Joe Pauley has been one of the Bulldogs' top offensive players in his three-plus seasons. This year, he leads the team with 31 runs scored, but his career totals are among the best in school history. With 135 career runs scored, he is now 15 shy of the all-time mark (150).

Control Freaks: The Butler pitching staff has had an uncanny ability to locate within the strike zone lately, as the Bulldogs have allowed four or fewer walks in the last eight games and three or fewer in seven. Butler has averaged 3.42 free passes per contest this year and yielded one or no walks in 10 games.

Going Big And Small: Not too many hitters in the Horizon League have been as versatile as senior captain Ryan Neat. The Bulldog first baseman has evolved into one of the team's top power threats, ranking third on the squad with three home runs, but he has also been tops at playing small ball with a team-high five sacrifice bunts.

That's What I Call Run Support: Butler's 22 runs scored against Milwaukee on Saturday (March 29) were the most in a single game since scoring 24 runs against Detroit in 2003.

Mr. 1,000: When the second game of the Bulldogs' double-header against UIC on April 5 became official in the fifth inning, Butler head coach Steve Farley had formally gone where few college coaches have gone before. The contest marked the 1,000th game on the bench for the 19-year veteran and was the mentor's 900th game coached in his 17 seasons at Butler.

On Deck: Butler closes out the regular season next week, as the Bulldogs head to Big Ten foe Indiana on Tuesday, May 13 before returning home to host league rival Cleveland State in a three game set with a single game on Friday, May 16, and a double-header on Saturday, May 17. Butler's seven senior members will be honored prior to the final game against the Vikings.