INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler baseball team pounded Youngstown State, 11-2, in game one Saturday but couldn't keep the momentum going and settled for a doubleheader split. The Penguins took two of three in the series after winning Saturday's nightcap 18-6.
Junior Kevin Crane and sophomores Nick Hladek and Griffin Richeson were the offensive leaders in the two games. Hladek and four hits - including two doubles and a home run - and three RBIs while Crane also had four hits on the day. Richeson went 5-for-9 and scored two runs.
In game one, BU got a strong outing from sophomore right-hander Mike Hernandez, who pitched into the 9th and had command all day. He allowed two runs on six hits over 8.0 innings, striking out seven and walking one. Hladek did the damage at the plate going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run.
BU (7-13) scored seven runs in the bottom of the 1st to give Hernandez all the support he'd need. The Bulldogs chased YSU starter Blake Aquadro after just eight batters and a 5-0 Bulldog lead. After a pitching change, junior Luke Duncan smacked a two-run double to right to cap off BU's 7-spot in the 1st inning.
With Hernandez cruising with a big lead, the two teams traded scoreless innings until YSU got a run in the top of the 7th. Richeson would answer with an RBI single in the bottom of the 7th to put BU ahead 8-1. The Bulldogs added three more runs in the 8th inning, with Hladek's two-run homer to right serving as the big blow.
Youngstown State (10-9) managed another run in the 9th, as Hernandez started to run out of gas. YSU's Anthony Porter homered and senior Tyler Szymczak got the final three outs of the ballgame.
As smooth as things went for the Bulldogs in game one, their fortunes were reversed in the second game. Trailing 5-1 in the 5th inning, Youngstown State scored eight runs with Porter hitting a three-run home run as the inning's 10th batter.
The Bulldogs fought back with four runs in the bottom of the 5th and another run in the 8th. BU pounded out 31 hits on the day, including a season-high 18 in game one. However, YSU continued to pull away in the late innings.
Duncan, fellow junior Corey Moylan and Richeson each went 2-for-4 in the loss. Moylan had two RBIs.
Butler has four games this upcoming week, all at home. BU hosts IPFW Wednesday, March 31 before continuing Horizon League play with a three-game series against Wright State next weekend.