INDIANAPOLIS - A two-run homer by Pat Gelwicks and a game-winning single in the 10th inning by Ryan Wojciechowski moved the Butler baseball team past Valparaiso 5-4 on Friday afternoon. BU is now 9-9 on the season. The game was the Horizon League opener for both teams.
Butler trailed the Crusaders 4-2 in the 8th inning in what was a pitcher's duel between the teams' aces, Dom Silvestri and Tyler Deetjen. Both starting pitchers threw efficiently, but all of the action came after Silvestri and Deetjen exited the ballgame.
With the Bulldogs down 4-2, freshman Michael Fries led off the bottom of the 8th with a single. Gelwicks, BU's leading hitter, then smacked a 1-1 pitch deep to right field to tie the game. Gelwicks' blast landed near 52nd Street, and soared well over the Horizon League team logos on the fence in right.
Valpo put runners on the corners in the top of the 9th, but junior Chase Byerly fanned Tanner Vavra and then got the Crusaders' No. 3 hitter, Chris Manning, to softly ground out. BU went down in order in the 9th to go to extra innings.
Gelwicks, in his next at-bat, led off the 10th with a single. He then advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Wojciechowski, in just his 17th collegiate plate appearance, swatted a single to right. Gelwicks slid safely just ahead of the throw home and the Butler dugout erupted into celebration.
Butler pounded out 14 hits, tied for second-most in a game this season. Gelwicks and Fries were each 2-for-5 and senior Mike Hoscheit was 3-for-4. Senior Griffin Richeson and junior Radley Haddad each had two hits.
Andrew Bain led Valpo with a 3-for-5 effort and two RBIs. Bain's two-run single in the 7th was the game's first big play, and gave Valpo a 3-2 lead. Four other Crusaders added two hits.
Silvestri, making his second start this season, pitched 6.1 innings and left with Butler ahead 2-1. His final line allowed three runs and five hits. He struck out three and walked two. Deetjen pitched 7.2 innings, scattering 12 hits. Byerly was credited with the win, pitching 3.1 shutout innings. He struck out three and allowed three hits.
BU and Valpo will play one single game Saturday and Sunday. Both games will start at 1 p.m. at Bulldog Park.