INDIANAPOLIS - For the second straight day, Xavier scored in the 9th inning to defeat the Butler baseball team 4-3. The loss knocked Butler out of contention for a berth in the Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship. Butler's season ends with a 25-27 overall record. The Bulldogs were 12-12 in their only A-10 season.
Xavier (30-24, 16-8) got a leadoff double by Selby Chidemo and then he scored the winning run on a squeeze play. Butler put two runners on in the bottom of the 9th but ran out of outs.
Senior Jimmy Risi hit a two-run homer and had three RBIs to lead the Dawgs, who also lost to Xavier 4-3 on Friday. BU defeated XU 4-0 in the series opener.
After a home run in the 1st inning by Vinny Nittoli gave Xavier a 2-0 lead, Risi hit a pitch over the right-field wall to tie the game 2-2. It was Risi's seventh homer and he finished with 19 as a Butler player.
An RBI single by Derek Hasenbeck regained the lead for Xavier in the top of the 5th but Risi came up big again in the bottom half of the inning. After seniors Bob Akin and Jack Dillon reached base with two outs, Risi blooped a hit in between the pitcher's mound and second base. The ball dropped and everyone was safe. Inexplicably, no Xavier defender picked up the ball and Akin sprinted home safely to tie the score 3-3.
Butler loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 7th, but Xavier went deep into its bullpen to get out of the jam. Jacob Bodner came into the game and got a strikeout to end the inning. He then threw a perfect 8th. Bodner was the winning pitcher in both 4-3 victories.
Saturday's game was originally schedule to be played at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. Field conditions forced the contest back to Butler's Bulldog Park. The Bulldogs honored the program's 13 seniors before the game.
Notably, the game was BU's final contest as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler (and Xavier) will compete in the Big East Conference starting this coming fall.