VALPARAISO, Ind. - Senior Joe Ochs pitched into the 7th inning and the Bulldogs came up with a big defensive play late in an 8-7 Butler victory Friday evening. WIth the Bulldogs in a jam in the bottom of the 9th, junior Luke Duncan caught a line drive and made a diving force out for the game-winning double play.
Junior Grant Fillipitch went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs, while junior Kevin Crane and sophomore Nick Hladek each drove in a pair.
Ochs (3-3) gave a solid effort, scattering seven hits and four runs over 6.2 innings. He struck out two and threw 100 pitches.
The Bulldogs jumped on the Crusaders early with a pair of runs in the 1st. Hladek's two-run double was the key blow in the inning. A solo shot by senior Kyle Schultz gave BU a 3-1 lead in the 4th inning.
Butler led 5-4 when it struck for three runs in the top of the 8th. Duncan led off the inning with a single and he scored on a single by Fillipitch. Junior Corey Moylan had an RBI tripe and Crane had a sac fly, putting the Dawgs ahead 8-4.
Valpo (18-26, 6-6 HL) came back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the 8th. Valparaiso threatened in the 9th against senior Jamie Feldheiser, putting runners on first and second with one out. Duncan then caught a liner off the bat of Crusader first baseman Will Hagel and made a diving tag at second base for the final out of the game. The play preserved Feldheiser's first save.
Butler has made quite a surge in league play during the last three weeks. The Bulldogs have won five of their last six Horizon League games dating back to a 20-12 win over Milwaukee on April 18.
BU and Valpo continue the series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.