Ninth-Inning Rallies Lead Panthers Past Bulldogs In Doubleheader
Milwaukee, Wis. - Butler battled back from early deficits in a pair of games in Milwaukee - taking a late lead in the opener and rallying for four in the ninth to draw even in the nightcap - but the host Panthers had the final say in each contest, picking up a 6-5 decision in the first game and a 7-6 win in the second on Thursday (May 14) evening at Miller Park.
Butler rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 advantage in the first contest and held a one-run edge heading into the ninth before the Panthers responded with the tying and winning marks in the final frame. In the finale, the Bulldogs overcame a 6-2 ninth-inning shortcoming to plate four runs with two down, but Milwaukee would quickly answer in its half of the frame to nail down the doubleheader sweep.
Milwaukee used some clutch two-out hitting in the first to take a 3-0 lead in the opening game. After the first two batters of the inning went down, Doug Dekoning kept things going with a single to third before stealing second and coming home for the first run on an RBI double by Josh Groves. Tim Patzman completed the scoring outburst with a two-run homer to center.
Colin Ziegel brought the Bulldogs right back into the game in the fourth. Michael Letzter and Bobby Mosser each singled to put runners on first and second with two down before the Butler senior roped a long fly ball over the fence in right for his third home run of the season while tying the score at 3-3.
Butler took the lead for the first time an inning later, as Luke Duncan lined a one-out double down the right field line before taking third on a ground-out to short by Grant Fillipitch. Letzter then drove in Duncan with the go-ahead run on a two-out RBI single through the left side before sprinting all the way home from first on an ensuing double to the gap in right center by Kyle Schultz to put the Bulldogs on top, 5-3.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Jeff Sinkiewicz settled down after allowing Milwaukee's three-run, three-hit first inning, yielding just an unearned run on five hits over the next five innings before leaving the game at the start of the seventh in line for the win.
Jared Wagoner relieved in the seventh and escaped the inning with three-straight outs before running into trouble in the eighth. A lead-off double and a walk followed by a sacrifice bunt put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position with just one out, but the Butler righty induced an inning-ending double-play on a popped-up squeeze bunt attempt to stave off the rally.
The ninth inning would not be as kind to the Bulldogs, however, as Johann Andes greeted Wagoner with a lead-off home run that tied the contest up at 5-5.
Cole Kraft then followed with a walk, moved to second on a sac bunt and took third on a ground-out to second to set up another attempt at the same play that ended the eighth. This time, however, Groves dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to third that allowed Kraft to sprint home with the winning run.
Butler fell behind early again in the second contest, as the Panthers spotted themselves a 1-0 lead in the second before plating another in the fourth and three more in the fifth to take a 5-0 advantage. The Bulldogs answered the call in the top of the sixth, however, as Letzter delivered a two-out, two-run double to left center to bring Butler to within three.
Milwaukee would earn one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning with an unearned mark and appeared to be in prime position for an easy win.
Butler had other ideas, however, as the Bulldogs would send nine men to the plate in the top of the ninth while scoring four runs - all with two down - to tie the game up at 6-6.
Ziegel led off the frame with a single to left before moving to second on a ground-out by Alex Montagano. Jason Jamerson followed with a walk before being lifted for a pinch runner in the form of Tim Matheson.
Milwaukee got one out closer to a victory after recording a strike-out, but Duncan kept the inning going by lining a single into right center that plated Ziegel and sent Matheson to third. A walk to Rick Betsch loaded the bases for Fillipitch, who brought the Bulldogs to within a run after roping a two-run single to right on a 1-2 pitch.
Letzter completed the comeback one batter later, hitting a single to center that scored Betsch from second with the tying run.
The win would once again elude the Bulldogs, however, as the Panthers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning and, after hitting into a force at the plate for the first out, tallied the game-winner on a single to right that fell just out of the reach of a diving Ziegel.
Letzter finished with three RBI in the contest, going 2-for-4 at the plate, while Fillipitch drove in two of his own. Duncan and Betsch, meanwhile, each scored twice.
Butler closes out the three-game series with Milwaukee - as well as the regular season - on Friday (May 15) beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET (12:00 noon CT) at Henry Aaron Field. The game was originally slated to start at 3:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. CT).