NASHVILLE –Winter weather conditions in the Cary, N.C. area cancelled the action that Butler had planned on participating in this weekend, yet Head Coach Steve Farley and the Bulldogs were able to find an opponent in Illinois State. The two teams played at E.S. Rose Park in Nashville, Tenn. Illinois State won the first game 9-1, but the Bulldogs evened their overall record with a 7-6 win on Sunday.
The Redbirds scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to open up a 9-0 lead against Butler in the season opener. The first two runs of the game came across home plate in the bottom of the second and Illinois State was able to add a single run in both the third and fourth innings. Butler avoided the shutout with a run in the top of the seventh.
Pat Guinane picked up the lone RBI on the day with a sacrifice fly, while Quincy Quintero scored the Bulldogs only run. Illinois State's pitching was on point in game one, limiting Butler to just four hits. Drew Small, Quintero, Marcos Calderon and Will Amador all recorded one hit. Amador had the only extra base hit of the game for Butler, picking up his first double of the season.
The Bulldogs used two arms in game one vs. Illinois State with Eric Stout taking the hill as the Butler starter. Stout tossed four complete innings, giving up four earned runs off seven hits. He struck out seven and only walked one.
Billy Laing was on the mound for the final four innings on Saturday. He gave up two earned runs on six hits. Five total runs crossed home plate with Laing pitching. He ended the game with two strikeouts.
Game two went into extras as Butler pulled off the 7-6 comeback win by scoring a run in the bottom of the 10th inning. The team faced a 4-2 deficit heading into the sixth inning. After holding the Redbirds off the scoreboard in the seventh, BU went on to score four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 6-4 lead.
Illinois State came up with a run in the eighth to get back within one and the game would become tied at 6-6 after a score in the ninth.
Illinois State was unable to score in the 10th giving Butler a chance to earn their first win of the season. Small recorded a leadoff single for Butler and the Redbirds would soon face two base runners as Alex Horowitz reached on a fielder's choice. With two on and no out, Farley sent in the sacrifice bunt call with Michael Fries at the dish. Fries executed perfectly sending Small to third and Horowitz to second.
The Redbirds intentionally walked Quintero, Butler's cleanup hitter, putting the pressure on Nick Bartolone who was standing on deck. Bartolone came up clutch with the game-winning RBI single that sent Small home. The hit was Butler's 10th of the day. They also ended the contest with zero errors on the scoreboard.
Chris Maranto was an impact player for Butler in game two picking up three RBIs on the day with a 1-for-3 performance from the plate. Horowitz also had a nice game with two RBIs.
Ryan Wojciechowski got the start at designated hitter on Sunday. He responded with a 2-for-3 performance that allowed him to score a run. Wojciechowski came up with his first double of the season, but the extra base hit category was dominated by catcher Will Amador who had a double (2) and a triple in game two.
Kyle Kramp got the start, but it was Kyle Allen who earned the win. Kramp threw the first four innings of the game, allowing just three hits which led to two runs. He had five strikeouts, yet walked five batters.
Allen was the finisher as he replaced Peter Nyznyk who entered the game as middle relief. Allen only allowed three hits in the final 2.1 innings of action as he earned his first win of the season.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to travel to South Carolina next weekend with games lined up against Pittsburgh, Wofford and S.C. Upstate. Any changes that may occur due to weather will be reflected on ButlerSports.com.