INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to rally past Northern Kentucky 3-2 on Wednesday. The win put BU over the .500 mark this season.
Sophomore Michael Fries and freshman Nick Bartolone each had an RBI single in the inning, with Fries' base hit to right driving in the winning run. Sophomore Kyle Allen was credited with the win and senior Chase Byerly worked a quick 9th inning for his sixth save.
"The guy threw with a funky arm angle," Fries said. "I tried to just not do too much and I was lucky I was able to get a hit."
Another cold, rainy day saw the Bulldogs trail 2-0 late in the game and NKU lefty Tim Clark was cruising after 7.0 innings. He came out for the 8th and promptly allowed the first two batters to reach. Clark was taken out after walking Radley Haddad with his 96th pitch of the day. On his first pitch, NKU relief pitcher Cody Cooper plunked Austin Miller to load the bases with nobody out.
Bartolone, pinch hitting for senior Bob Akin, who entered to pinch hit for junior Marco Calderon, then sent a dribbler down the third-base line. The ball stayed fair for a single and the Bulldogs cut the lead to 2-1. Freshman Mike Kseniak added an RBI fielder's choice to tie the game 2-2. Fries followed with the game-winning single before Northern Kentucky turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Junior lefty Gunner Johnson started for Butler and allowed just one hit over 4.0 innings. Senior Billy Laing and Jared Earle each added a scoreless inning in addition to Allen's and Byerly's work in the late innings.
NKU's Cody Kuzniczci went 3-for-4, including an RBI double in the top of the 6th. Clark, who transferred to Northern Kentucky after Cleveland State discontinued baseball, struck out six over 7.0 innings. He held BU to three hits and two runs.
Butler (19-18, 7-5) will return to Atlantic 10 play for the first time since April 14 when it hosts Fordham this weekend. The Rams will be at BU as a conference opponent for the only time ever April 26-28.