March 17, 2013

Bulldogs Finish Spring Break By Splitting On Sunday

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - The Butler baseball team dropped a slugfest against Eastern Michigan and then cruised past Northern Kentucky on Sunday. 

The Bulldogs fell behind 8-0 before nearly coming all the way back in a 10-9 loss to Eastern Michigan. BU followed that by beating NKU 8-3. Overall, it was a 3-1 weekend for the Bulldogs in Kentucky.

"Brutal weather all day today, with snow flurries and extreme cold. It would be hard enough playing a football game in these conditions, let alone baseball. I’m proud of how our guys performed this weekend. Winning three out of four games over three days is a solid accomplishment," coach Steve Farley said. 

EMU jumped on Butler with five runs in the first, keyed by a stretch of four straight players getting hits. The Eagles scored three more times in the next two innings to lead 8-0 before Butler rallied in a big way.

The top of the Butler order - Marcos Calderon, Marco Caponi and Jack Dillon - each walked with one out to set the table for senior Jimmy Risi. The Butler first baseman smacked a double to right-center to drive in three runs. The next batter, Patrick Guinane, followed with a double and senior Radley Haddad added an RBI single and suddenly the deficit was cut to 8-5.

Butler would cut the lead to 8-7 in the 5th inning. A BU fielding error cost the Dawgs a run in the top of the 6th and the Eagles added another run in the 7th inning to lead 10-7. Marcos Calderon had an RBI single and Risi added an RBI double to pull BU within 10-9. The Bulldogs had runners on first and second in the bottom of the 9th but couldn't complete the comeback.

"We had a great comeback in the 2nd EMU game and just needed one more clutch hit. We’ll hope to catch a break sometime soon with the weather as we get ready for one more non-conference game before starting up with the A-10 schedule," Farley said. 

Later in the day, the Dawgs took on Northern Kentucky. The pitching of sophomore Kyle Allen was more than enough to hold off NKU, as the right-hander went 7.0 innings and allowed just one run. He scattered five hits and struck out 10.

BU scored an unearned run in the top of the 1st and then sophomore Michael Fries walked and scored on a sacrifice fly in the 3rd. Fries added a two-run double in the top of the 5th to give Butler a 4-1 lead.

Risi added another RBI double - his third two-bagger of the day - and he scored on an error to life the Bulldogs to a 6-1 lead. The Dawgs led 8-1 when NKU got two runs late to provide the final scoring.

On the day, Risi had four hits (3 doubles), scored twice and drove in a team-high five runs. Fries went 4-for-5 on the day and walked five times and scored four runs. Haddad and Marcos Calderon each led Butler with five hits.

The Bulldogs (8-10) return to the diamond Wednesday, March 20 at Ball State. Next weekend starts Atlantic 10 play, as Butler will open at VCU March 22-24.