INDIANAPOLIS - Sophomore Eric Stout dominated Xavier with a two-hit shutout to give the Butler baseball team a 4-0 win in 103 minutes on Thursday.
Stout, a sophomore left-hander, gave up a double to lead off the game and a single to Patrick Paligraf in the 2nd inning. After that, he retired 22 consecutive batters without allowing a hit. Stout fanned three and walked three, hit one batter and fired 117 pitches. He even made four assists, including starting a double play in the top of the 2nd.
"I established the fastball in and I trusted my defense," Stout said. "Coach (Farley) says to get groundballs and double plays. We got two double plays today. One was close, our infielders did that really well. And our outfielders came up huge too."
Stout (8-5) had a one-hit game earlier this season against IPFW, though that game was a seven-inning contest. He was Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week after that outing.
Senior Radley Haddad scored two runs to lead Butler offensively. Both times he scored were the result of him getting hit by pitch. Seniors Jimmy Risi and Jack Dillon and junior Marcos Calderon each had an RBI single.
The win was imperative for Butler (25-25, 12-10) in the final weekend of the regular season. BU entered one game out of the final spot to gain a berth into next week's league tournament. The top seven A-10 teams advance, and Butler was one game behind George Washington and Saint Joseph's for the final seed.
Asked if the do-or-die situation affected him, Stout said, "We're all fired up. We know we need to sweep to get in for sure. We need one again tomorrow. One win at a time."
BU scored an unearned run in the bottom of the 1st when Marcos Calderon reached on an error. He was bunted to third and scored on a single by Risi, Butler's leading hitter this season.
The Bulldogs got two runs in the 2nd when Haddad was hit by a pitch and advanced to third on a double by senior Lucas Calderon. Marco Calderon then followed with a single to make it 2-0. Lucas Calderon then scored when Xavier tried a pickoff play. He came far off of third base, but the Xavier catcher threw the pickoff attempt into left field.
Those three runs were more than enough for Stout. He faced the minimum six times and, after the 1st inning, didn't allow a runner to reach third base. Only once, in the top of the 6th, did Xavier put a runner on second base.
Dillon pushed an RBI single to left with two outs in the 7th to give BU a 4-0 lead. Xavier ace Jon Richard was effective, but was out-dueled by Stout. Richard (8-4) went a complete 8.0 innings, allowing five hits and a walk. He got through eight frames on 93 pitches and struck out three.
Butler and Xavier (28-24) will play twice more, with Friday's game at Bulldog Park at 1 p.m. The regular season finale is at Victory Field Saturday at 2 p.m.